Serum was analyzed from 146 healthy adult volunteers in eastern Africa to evaluate measles virus (MV) and canine distemper virus (CDV) neutralizing antibody (nAb) prevalence and potency. MV plaque reduction neutralization test (PRNT) results indicated that all sera were positive for MV nAbs. Furthermore, the 50% neutralizing dose (ND50) for the majority of sera corresponded to antibody titers induced by MV vaccination. CDV nAbs titers were low and generally were detected in sera with high MV nAb titers. A mutant CDV was generated that was less sensitive to neutralization by human serum. The mutant virus genome had 10 nucleotide substitutions, which coded for single amino acid substitutions in the fusion (F) and hemagglutinin (H) glycoproteins and two substitutions in the large polymerase (L) protein. The H substitution occurred in a conserved region involved in receptor interactions among morbilliviruses, implying that this region is a target for cross-reactive neutralizing antibodies.
Keywords: Canine distemper virus; Cross-neutralization; Hemagglutinin; Measles virus; Neutralizing antibody; Plaque reduction neutralization test; Pre-existing immunity.
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