The antigenic variability of the 15 kD nucleocapsid protein of porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS) virus was characterized with a panel of 24 monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) raised against the American PRRS virus isolate ISU-P. Five continuous epitopes designated EpORF7-A through E were revealed by the reactivity pattern of these MAbs with 67 American field isolates, two modified-live vaccine viruses, and the European Lelystad virus as determined by the indirect immnofluorescence assay and Western immunoblotting and confirmed by additivity and blocking enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays. The reactivity pattern of isolates in the IFA permitted their subdivision into 4 American antigenic groups which represented 84.1, 11.6, 2.9 and 1.4% of viruses tested. The antigenic variation among isolates was correlated to single, group specific nucleotide substitutions and mediated by a combination of at least 4 of the 5 epitopes. EpORF7-A was conserved in all American isolates and the Lelystad virus which constituted a separate antigenic group. Consequently, monoclonal antibodies specific for EpORF7-A may prove useful as the antigenic basis for a universal diagnostic test for the PRRS virus. EpORF7-C, D and E were only present in the American isolates tested.
Archives of Virology – Springer Journals
Published: Mar 1, 1999
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