Identification of novel epitopes in serotype O foot-and-mouth disease virus by in vitro immune selection

Foot-and-mouth disease virus (FMDV) displays various epitopes on the capsid outer surface. In addition to the five neutralizing antigenic sites, there is evidence of the existence of other, yet unidentified, epitopes that are believed to play a role in antibody-mediated protection. Previous attempts to identify these epitopes revealed two additional substitutions at positions VP2-74 and -191 (5M2/5 virus) to be of antigenic significance. However, complete resistance to neutralization was not obtained in the neutralization assay, indicating the existence of other, undisclosed epitopes. Results from this study provides evidence of at least two new neutralizing epitopes involving residues VP3-116 and -195 around the threefold axis that have significant impact on the antigenic nature of the virus. These findings extend our knowledge of the surface features of the FMDV capsid known to elicit neutralizing antibodies, and should help with rational vaccine design.

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