Antigenic characterization of human and animal rotaviruses by the plaque reduction neutralization assay has shown the existence of naturally occurring intertypes. Antiserum to M37, a rotavirus strain isolated from an asymptomatic neonate, neutralizes both Wa and ST3 strains, which are classified as serotype 1 and serotype 4 human rotaviruses, respectively. Likewise, antiserum to SB-1A, a porcine rotavirus, neutralizes rotavirus strains belonging to serotype 4 or 5. Plaque reduction neutralization assay of reassortant rotaviruses produced in vitro from these intertypes indicates that these viruses share one antigenically related outer capsid protein, VP3, with one serotype and another antigenically related outer capsid protein, VP7, with the other serotype. Thus, M37 is related to ST3 on the basis of its fourth-gene product, VP3, and to Wa on the basis of its ninth-gene product, VP7, whereas SB-1A is related to Gottfried (serotype 4 porcine rotavirus) via VP7 and to OSU (serotype 5 porcine rotavirus) via VP3. RNA-RNA hybridization studies revealed a high degree of homology between the VP3 or VP7 gene segments responsible for shared serotype specificity. Thus, the fourth gene segments of M37 and ST3 were highly homologous, while M37 and Wa had homology between their ninth gene segments. SB-1A and Gottfried were homologous not only with respect to the ninth gene but had complete homology in all other genes except the fourth gene. The fourth gene of SB-1A was highly homologous with the fourth gene of OSU. These observations suggested that SB-1A was a naturally occurring reassortant between Gottfried-like and OSU-like porcine rotavirus strains. Our observations also suggested that intertypes may result from genetic reassortment in nature
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