Classification of rotavirus VP4 and VP7 serotypes
Rotaviruses, members of the Reoviridae family, are major etiologic agents of acute nonbacterial gastroenteritis of the young in a wide variety of mammalian and avian species, including humans. The need for effective immunoprophylaxis against rotaviral gastroenteritis has stimulated interest in the biochemical, molecular, genetic, and clinical aspects of these agents with the aim of developing safe and effective vaccines. Because neutralizing antibodies appear to play an important role in protection against many viral diseases, rotavirus antigens that induce neutralizing antibodies have played a central role in research and development of a rotavirus vaccine. The VP7 glycoprotein and VP4 spike protein that constitute the outer capsid of a complete rotavirus particle have been shown to be independent neutralization antigens. Since type specificity of the outer capsid proteins of a rotavirus appears to play an important role in protection against disease in experimental animal models, continued efforts have been made for classification and typing of neutralization specificities on the VP7 or VP4 capsid protein. Based on a criterion of > 20-fold differences between the homologous and heterologous reciprocal neutralizing antibody titers, fourteen VP7 (G) serotypes have been established. Studies are underway to characterize and classify the VP4 (P) serotypes among the strains that exhibit the fourteen different G serotypes. Attempts to classify the VP4 serotypes based on the same criterion (i.e., > 20-fold antibody differences) that is applied to classification of VP7 serotypes are in progress. This standard of > 20-fold antibody differences can be applied with hyperimmune serum raised to a reassortant possessing the VP4 encoding gene (and an unrelated VP7 encoding gene). Genotypes can provide leads towards classification but the serotype of a strain should be based on neutralization.
KeywordsInduce Neutralize Antibody Outer Capsid Protein Hyperimmune Antiserum Plaque Reduction Neutralization Assay Acute Nonbacterial Gastroenteritis
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