Bovine coronaviruses (BCoVs) isolated in Japan consist of four genetic groups, as determined by phylogenetic analysis using the polymorphic region (aa 456–592) of the S glycoprotein gene. Japanese field isolates of BCoV, reference Kakegawa strain, and vaccine strain 66/H were analyzed for their antigenic properties by indirect immunofluorescence and neutralization testing. There were no significant differences observed among these BCoVs in direct immunofluorescence tests. However, antigenic differences were observed between BCoVs in the neutralization tests, although there was no clear indication of a distinct serotype. A monoclonal antibody, 4H4, against the Kakegawa strain belonging to group 1 lacked significant neutralizing activity for viruses of groups 2, 3, and 4. Therefore, we speculate that the genetic differences between these groups may have altered their antigenicity. Analysis of mutant viruses resistant to neutralization by 4H4 revealed that the antigenic site of the Kakegawa strain maps to amino acid position 284 of the S glycoprotein. This site is not homologous to a known antigenic site (aa 528) of the Quebec strain belonging to group 1, and it is not located in the conformational domain comprising domain I (aa 351–403) and domain II (aa 517–621). This amino acid constitutes a neutralization epitope of BCoV, which is distinct from aa 528 of the Quebec strain. These results indicate antigenic evolution of BCoV between the genetic groups circulating in Japan.
Archives of Virology – Springer Journals
Published: May 1, 2013
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