Korean J Infect Dis.  1999 Apr;31(2):111-121.

Development of Monoclonal Antibodies to Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) and Application for Study of Antigenic Variation of RSV

  • 1Department of Pediatrics, Sungkyunkwan University, College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.
  • 2Department of Pediatrics, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.


BACKGROUND: Strains of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) can be classified by reactivity with monoclonal antibodies into two major subgroups A and B, then further into several antigenic variants in each subgroup. Antigenic characterization of strains prevailing in a particular community may be essential in the future development of vaccine.
We developed monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) to RSV subgroups A and B. Antigenic specificities were characterized by immunoblot assay and radioimmunoprecipitation. By the pattern of reactions with these MAbs, RSV isolated over 1990~1998 were categorized into subgroups A and B, then further into antigenic variants.
Thirty-four monoclonal antibodies to RSV were produced; twelve were directed against nucleoprotein; seven against matrix protein; ten against fusion protein; and five against major envelope glycoprotein. During the study period, yearly epidemics of RSV infection existed. Both subgroups circulated concurrently in 6 epidemics with predominance of subgroup A, and only one of each subgroup was identified in 2. Antigenic variations were observed in matrix, fusion and major glycoprotein. Six antigenic variants were identified in subgroup A and 2 in subgroup B among 242 strains of RSV. One major variant of subgroup A dominated in all of the 7 subgroup A epidemics, while the dominant variant of subgroup B was different in each of the 7 subgroup B epidemics.
During the study period, yearly epidemics of RSV infection existed. The proportion of each subgroup varied in each of the 8 epidemics. The antigenic variability of RSV should be considered in the future development of RSV vaccine.


Respiratory syncytial virus; Monoclonal antibody; Antigenic variation

MeSH Terms

Antibodies, Monoclonal*
Antigenic Variation*
Respiratory Syncytial Viruses*
Antibodies, Monoclonal
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