Arch Virol (1998) 143: 213–225
The hemagglutinin of recent measles virus isolates induces cell
fusion in a marmoset cell line, but not in other CD46-positive
human and monkey cell lines, when expressed together
with the F protein
K. Tanaka, M. Xie, and Y. Yanagi
Department of Virology, Faculty of Medicine, Kyushu University, Fukuoka, Japan
Accepted October 15, 1997
Summary. Measles virus (MV) is efﬁciently isolated from patients with measles
by using B95a cells, a marmoset B cell line. Recent wild-type MV strains isolated
using B95a cells did not produce cytopathic effects in any of CD46
lines examined (except B95a cells), nor did they induce downregulation of CD46.
Transfection of the hemagglutinin (H) and fusion (F) genes of the Edmonston
strain of MV produced syncytia in HeLa, Cos and B95a cells. By contrast, the
expression of the H gene from the two wild-type strains, together with the F gene
of the Edmonston strain, resulted in syncytium production in B95a cells, but not in
HeLa and Cos cells. Cocultivation of Cos cells expressing the wild-type H protein
and the Edmonston strain F protein with B95a cells, but not with HeLa, Jurkat or
BJAB cells, generated large syncytia. The results suggest that these recent MV
isolates may use a molecule other than CD46 as the cellular receptor or require
another coreceptor to infect cells.
Measles virus (MV), a member of the Morbillivirus genus in the Paramyxo-
viridae family, causes an acute disease that still kills more than one million
children worldwide every year. MV also causes immunosuppression, postinfec-
tious encephalitis, and in rare instances persistent infection in the central nervous
system . MV was ﬁrst isolated in tissue culture in 1954 by inoculating primary
human kidney cells with the blood of a child with measles . Since then, contin-
uous monkey cell lines (e.g. Vero) have been commonly used for MV isolation.
Kobune et al. showed that B95a cells, an Epstein-Barr (EB) virus-transformed
marmoset B cell line, allowed us to isolate MV from patients much more efﬁ-
ciently than Vero cells . Other human B cell lines are also used to isolate MV
strains [13, 23].