The P gene of rodent brain-adapted measles virus plays a critical role in neurovirulence

Tetsuro Arai, Yuri Terao-Muto, Shotaro Uchida, Che Lin, Tomoyuki Honda, Akiko Takenaka, Fusako Ikeda, Hiroki Sato, Misako Yoneda, Chieko Kai

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3 Citations (Scopus)


In rare cases, measles virus (MV) in children leads to fatal neurological complications such as primary measles encephalitis, post-acute measles encephalitis, subacute sclerosing panencephalitis and measles inclusion-body encephalitis. To investigate the pathogenesis of MV-induced encephalitis, rodent brain-adapted MV strains CAM/RB and CAMR40 were generated. These strains acquired mutations to adapt to the rodent brain during 40 passages in rat brain. However, it is still unknown which genes confer the neurovirulence of MV. We previously established a rescue system for recombinant MVs possessing the backbone of wild-type strain HL, an avirulent strain in mice. In the present study, to identify the genes in CAMR40 that elicit neurovirulence, we generated chimeric recombinant MVs based on strain HL. As a result, recombinant wild-type MV in which the haemagglutinin (H) gene was substituted with that of CAMR40 caused a non-lethal mild disease in mice, while additional substitution of the HL phosphoprotein (P) gene with that of strain CAMR40 caused lethal severe neurological signs comparable to those of CAMR40. These results clearly indicated that, in addition to the H gene, the P gene is required for the neurovirulence of MV CAMR40.

Original languageEnglish
Article number000842
Pages (from-to)1620-1629
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of General Virology
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Encephalitis
  • Measles virus
  • Neurovirulence
  • Rodent brain-adapted strain

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Virology


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