Foot-and-mouth disease virus epitope dominance in the antibody response of vaccinated animals

Five neutralizing antigenic sites have been identified on the surface of serotype O foot-and-mouth disease virus (FMDV). A set of mAb neutralization-escape mutant viruses was used for the first time to evaluate the relative use of known binding sites by polyclonal antibodies from three target species: cattle, sheep and pigs. Antibodies to all five neutralizing antigenic sites were detected in all three species, with most antibodies directed against antigenic site 2, followed by antigenic site 1. In 76% of cattle, 65% of sheep and 58% of pigs, most antibodies were directed against site 2. Antibodies specific to antigenic sites 3, 4 and 5 were found to be minor constituents in the sera of each of the target species. This implies that antigenic site 2 is a dominant neutralization immunogenic site in serotype O FMDV and may therefore be a good candidate for designing novel vaccines.

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