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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Public versus personal serotypes of a viral quasispecies.

Noncytopathic RNA viruses persist in their natural hosts at various levels as highly mutating quasispecies. They exhibit only one known serotype. In most inbred DBA2 mice infected with 2 x 10(4) or 2 x 10(6) plaque-forming units (pfu) of lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV), the virus is transiently controlled below detectable levels measured with conventional assays (<1.7 pfu), but reemerges despite a common neutralizing Ab (nAb) response. Wild-type virus and cloned mutant viruses that had escaped polyclonal nAb responses in vivo induced nAb titers in new hosts that were usually cross-reactive; some sera were highly specific for certain mutants. The few mice that controlled LCMV infection for >170 days produced not only nAb against wild-type but also variably against many other mutants isolated from other mice with reemerging viremia. When DBA2 mice were immunized and boosted with 200 pfu of a LCMV mutant, the neutralizing Ab response was limited to the immunizing "personal" clone. Thus, in contrast to classical serotype-defined cytopathic viruses (e.g., polio viruses) that induce strictly non-cross-reactive nAb titers, LCMV, a noncytopathic RNA virus, represents a dynamic multiplicity of personal serological submutants. Together, these mutants form a generally recognized "public" serotype. These findings may help to explain aspects of human infections and Ab responses against hepatitis B virus, hepatitis C virus, and HIV.[1]


  1. Public versus personal serotypes of a viral quasispecies. Hunziker, L., Ciurea, A., Recher, M., Hengartner, H., Zinkernagel, R.M. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. (2003) [Pubmed]
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