We infected a specific-pathogen-free cat (cat 14) with molecularly cloned feline immunodeficiency virus clone 19k1 (FIV19k1 [K. H. J. Siebelink, I. Chu, G. F. Rimmelzwaan, K. Weijer, A. D. M. E. Osterhaus, and M. L. Bosch, J. Virol. 66:1091-1097, 1992]). Serum of this cat obtained 22 weeks postinfection (serum 1422) neutralized FIV19k1 but not FIV19k32, which is 99.3% identical to FIV19k1 in the envelope gene. Serum 1422 also neutralized virus isolated from cat 14 at weeks 2 and 32 postinfection. We then cultured FIV19k1 in the continuous presence of serum 1422, which resulted in a delay in virus replication of 6 weeks. The resulting virus population appeared to be resistant to virus neutralization by serum 1422. Nucleotide sequencing of the env open reading frame of this presumed escape mutant revealed the presence of one silent and two substitution mutations, both of the latter in hypervariable region 5. Through the construction of chimeric viruses and site-directed mutagenesis, we demonstrated that one of these mutations, the substitution of lysine to glutamine at amino acid position 560 in hypervariable region 5, was sufficient to allow the escape of FIV19k1 from neutralization by serum 1422.

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Journal of Virology
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Siebelink, K., Rimmelzwaan, G., Bosch, M., Meloen, R. H., & Osterhaus, A. (1993). A single amino acid substitution in hypervariable region 5 of the envelope protein of feline immunodeficiency virus allows escape from virus neutralization. Journal of Virology, 67, 2202–2208. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/1765/3460