Monoclonal antibody resistant mutant of Peste des petits ruminants vaccine virus

The available vaccines for control of Peste des petits ruminants do not favour differentiation of infected and vaccinated animals (DIVA). Hence, the present study was aimed to isolate and characterize monoclonal antibody resistant mutant of an Indian strain of vaccine virus "PPRV-Sungri/96" under selection pressure of virus neutralizing monoclonal antibody '4B11' specific to haemagglutinin (H) protein. We successfully isolated five monoclonal antibody resistant (mAr) mutants (PPRV-RM5, PPRV-RM6, PPRV-RM7, PPRV- E6 and PPRV- E7). The mAr mutants did not react with the anti-H mAb 4B11 whereas reacted with control anti-nucleoprotein mAb 4G6, similar to the parent vaccine virus "PPRV-Sungri/96" in indirect ELISA, cell ELISA and indirect immunofluorescence test. Cytometry analysis of mAr mutants revealed loss of binding to mAb 4B11 while maintaining binding to mAb 4G6, more or less similar to "PPRV-Sungri/96". The sequence analysis of the H-protein gene of the mAr mutants resulted in identification of two nucleotide changes leading to amino acid substitutions at position 263 and 502 (L263P and R502P) of the H protein indicating that the epitope of mAb 4B11 could be conformational in nature. Though, mAr mutant grew to a similar titre as parent vaccine virus (PPRV-Sungri/96), the in vivo work in goats to study the mAr mutant as possible negative marker vaccine candidate could not be successfully proved with mAb 4B11 based competitive ELISA. However, one of the nucleotide change (T-C) at position 788, unique to mAr mutant virus resulted in abolition of a restriction enzyme recognition site (BglII). This could be used to differentiate mAr mutant vaccine virus from other available vaccine and field strains using restriction fragment length polymorphism. However, the mAr mutant PPRV-E6 cannot be used as a candidate strain for DIVA vaccine as immune response against it cannot be differentiated based on serology.

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