Kinetic curves for neutralization of adenovirus type 2 with anti-hexon serum revealed no lag periods even when the serum was highly diluted or when the temperature was lowered to 4 degrees C, thus indicating a single-hit mechanism. Multiplicity curves determined with anti-hexon serum displayed a linear correlation between the degree of neutralization and dilution of antiserum. Neutralization values experimentally obtained under steady-state conditions fully fitted a single-hit model based on Poisson calculations. Quantitation of the amount of 125I-labeled type-specific anti-hexon antibodies needed for full neutralization of adenovirus showed that 1.4 antibodies were attached per virion under such conditions. Virions already attached to HeLa cells at 4 degrees C were, to a large extent, neutralizable by anti-hexon serum, whereas anti-fiber and anti-penton base antisera were negative. It is suggested that adenovirus may be neutralized by two pathways: aggregation of the virions (extracellular neutralization) as performed by anti-fiber antibodies and blocking of virion entrance from the acidic endosomes into the cytoplasm (intracellular neutralization). The latter effect could be obtained by (i) covering of the penton bases, as performed by anti-penton base antibodies, thereby preventing interaction between the penton bases and the endosomal membrane, which results in trapping of virions within endosomes, and (ii) inhibition of the low-pH-induced conformational change of the viral capsid, which seems to occur in the endosomes and is necessary for proper exposure of the penton bases, as performed by anti-hexon antibodies
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