Author(s): Lin FH, Thormar H
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Abstract Measles virus has been suggested to cause subacute sclerosing panencephalitis (SSPE), a slow central nervous system disease of children. However, several questions remain about the pathogenesis of SSPE. For example, it is not known whether alteration of the measles virus genome has a role in the initiation and persistence of the disease. Several studies have compared the RNA and protein composition of wild-type (wt) and SSPE strains of measles virus in a search for markers characteristic of the latter. All the studies used SSPE strains that had reverted to the budding, virion-producing form, similar to wt. We have shown, however, that only cell-associated non-budding strains of SSPE virus cause an SSPE-like persistent infection in young ferrets. Strong cell association and cell-fusing activity were essential for the virulence of measles virus in the brains of experimental animals and possibly humans. We have, therefore, compared the protein composition of virulent SSPE strains to that of the budding, non-virulent SSPE and wt strains. We report here that the M protein was not detectable in non-budding SSPE strains D.R., Biken and IP-3, and strain D.R. contained very little H protein.
This article was published in Nature
and referenced in Journal of Bioterrorism & Biodefense