Antigenic drift and genetic variation are significantly constrained in measles virus (MeV). Genetic stability of MeV is exceptionally high, both in the lab and in the field, and few regions of the genome allow for rapid genetic change. The regions of the genome that are more tolerant of mutations (i.e.
, the untranslated regions and certain domains within the N, C, V, P, and M proteins) indicate genetic plasticity or structural flexibility in the encoded proteins. Our analysis reveals that strong constraints in the envelope proteins (F and H) allow for a single serotype despite known antigenic differences among its 24 genotypes. This review describes some of the many variables that limit the evolutionary rate of MeV. The high genomic stability of MeV appears to be a shared property of the Paramyxovirinae
, suggesting a common mechanism that biologically restricts the rate of mutation.
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