Journal of NeuroVirology

, Volume 13, Issue 6, pp 513–521

A single nucleotide change in the mumps virus F gene affects virus fusogenicity in vitro and virulence in vivo



Mumps virus is highly neurotropic, with evidence of infection of the central nervous system in more than half of clinical cases. In the prevaccine era, mumps was a major cause of viral meningitis in most developed countries. Despite efforts to attenuate the virus, some mumps vaccines have retained virulence properties and have caused aseptic meningitis in vaccinees, resulting in public resistance to vaccination in some countries. Ensuring the safety of mumps vaccines is an important public health objective, as the need for robust immunization programs has been made clear by the recent resurgence of mumps outbreaks worldwide, including the United States, which in 2006 experienced its largest mumps outbreak in 20 years. To better understand the molecular basis of mumps virus attenuation, the authors developed two infectious full-length cDNA clones for a highly neurovirulent strain of mumps virus. The clones differed at only one site, possessing either an A or G at nucleotide position 271 in the F gene, to represent the heterogeneity identified in the original virulent clinical isolate. In comparison to the clinical isolate, virus rescued from the A-variant cDNA clone grew to higher cumulative titers in vitro but exhibited similar cytopathic effects in vitro and virulence in vivo. In contrast, virus rescued from the G-variant cDNA clone, in comparison to the clinical isolate and the A-variant, was more fusogenic in vitro but replicated to lower cumulative titers and was less neurovirulent in vivo. These data suggest that nucleotide position 271 in the F gene plays a significant role in virus pathogenesis. This infectious clone system will serve as a key tool for further examination of the molecular basis for mumps virus neurovirulence and neuroattenuation.


infectious clone system neurotoxicity paramyxovirus reverse genetics 


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Copyright information

© Journal of NeuroVirology, Inc. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tahir Malik
    • 1
  • Christian Sauder
    • 1
  • Candie Wolbert
    • 1
  • Cheryl Zhang
    • 1
  • Kathryn M. Carbone
    • 1
  • Steven Rubin
    • 1
  1. 1.DVP/Office of Vaccines Research and Review, Center for Biologics Evaluation and ResearchFood and Drug AdministrationBethesdaUSA

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