The complete genomic sequences of 9 measles vaccine strains were compared with the sequence of the Edmonston wild-type virus. AIK-C, Moraten, Rubeovax, Schwarz, and Zagreb are vaccine strains of the Edmonston lineage, whereas CAM-70, Changchun-47, Leningrad-4 and Shanghai-191 were derived from 4 different wild-type isolates. Nucleotide substitutions were found in the noncoding regions of the genomes as well as in all coding regions, leading to deduced amino acid substitutions in all 8 viral proteins. Although the precise mechanisms involved in the attenuation of individual measles vaccines remain to be elucidated, in vitro assays of viral protein functions and recombinant viruses with defined genetic modifications have been used to characterize the differences between vaccine and wild-type strains. Although almost every protein contributes to an attenuated phenotype, substitutions affecting host cell tropism, virus assembly, and the ability to inhibit cellular antiviral defense mechanisms play an especially important role in attenuation.
Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Infectious Diseases Society of America 2011.