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J Virol. 1992 Oct;66(10):5879-89.

Mapping of homologous, amino-terminal neutralizing regions of human T-cell lymphotropic virus type I and II gp46 envelope glycoproteins.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina.


Twelve synthetic peptides containing hydrophilic amino acid sequences of human T-cell lymphotropic virus type I (HTLV-I) envelope glycoprotein were coupled to tetanus toxoid and used to raise epitope-specific antisera in goats and rabbits. Low neutralizing antibody titers (1:10 to 1:20) raised in rabbits to peptides SP-2 (envelope amino acids [aa] 86 to 107), SP-3 (aa 176 to 189), and SP-4A (aa 190 to 209) as well as to combined peptide SP-3/4A (aa 176 to 209) were detected in the vesicular stomatitis virus-HTLV-I pseudotype assay. Higher-titered neutralizing antibody responses to HTLV-I (1:10 to 1:640) were detected with pseudotype and syncytium inhibition assays in four goats immunized with a combined inoculum containing peptides SP-2, SP-3, and SP-4A linked to tetanus toxoid. These neutralizing anti-HTLV-I antibodies were type specific in that they did not inhibit HTLV-II syncytium formation. Neutralizing antibodies in sera from three goats could be absorbed with peptide SP-2 (aa 86 to 107) as well as truncated peptides containing envelope aa 90 to 98, but not with equimolar amounts of peptides lacking envelope aa 90 to 98. To map critical amino acids that contributed to HTLV-I neutralization within aa 88 to 98, peptides in which each amino acid was sequentially replaced by alanine were synthesized. The resulting 11 synthetic peptides with single alanine substitutions were then used to absorb three neutralizing goat antipeptide antisera. Both asparagines at positions 93 and 95 were required for adsorption of neutralizing anti-HTLV-I antibodies from all three sera. Peptide DP-90, containing the homologous region of HTLV-II envelope glycoprotein (aa 82 to 97), elicited antipeptide neutralizing antibodies to HTLV-II in goats that were type specific. In further adsorption experiments, it was determined that amino acid differences between homologous HTLV-I and HTLV-II envelope sequences at HTLV-I aa 95 (N to Q) and 97 (G to L) determined the type specificity of these neutralizing sites. Thus, the amino-terminal regions of HTLV-I and -II gp46 contain homologous, linear, neutralizing determinants that are type specific.

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