Monoclonal antibodies were produced to JHMV-DL, a neurotropic member of the mouse hepatitis virus (MHV) or murine coronavirus group. Of 23 antibodies isolated, 10 were specific for the major envelope glycoprotein, gp180/90, 10 for the nucleocapsid protein, pp60, and 3 for the minor envelope glycoprotein, gp25. Eleven different MHV isolates were used in antibody binding assays to study antigenic relationships among the viruses. Each MHV isolate tested had a unique pattern of antibody binding, indicating that each is a distinct strain. Conservation of JHMV-DL antigenic determinants varied among the three proteins, with pp60 showing intermediate conservation, gp180/90 little conservation, and gp25 marked conservation in the different MHV strains. Monoclonal antibodies to pp60 proved most useful in delineating antigenic relationships among MHV strains. These antigenic groups correlated with pathogenic types, indicating that pp60 may be one of the gene products which mediates the distinct disease patterns manifested by different murine coronaviruses.
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