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Blood. 1992 May 15;79(10):2789-96.

Cloning and analysis of a recombinant antigen containing an epitope specific for human T-cell lymphotropic virus type II.

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  • 1Department of Molecular Virology, Genelabs, Inc, Redwood City, CA 94063.


An immunodominant HTLV-I-specific epitope in the HTLV-I envelope glycoprotein (GP) 46 has been described. To determine if the analogous region of HTLV-II contains a similarly immunogenic and specific epitope, the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) was used to amplify HTLV-II DNA fragments encoding various portions of the putative epitope. The synthesized DNAs were cloned into lambda-phage gt11 and screened for production of immunoreactive fusion protein using sera from HTLV-II- or HTLV-I-infected individuals. Antisera from HTLV-II-infected individuals identified three of four recombinant clones when tested in a plaque immunoassay. Fusion protein from one of the clones, GH2-K15, was purified and analyzed by Western blot against a panel of HTLV-I and HTLV-II antisera. Twenty-one of 22 HTLV-II-infected sera were reactive with the GH2-K15 epitope. Sera from HTLV-I-infected and HTLV-I-uninfected individuals did not cross-react with GH2-K15. Western blot analysis of recombinant proteins encoding portions of the HTLV-II sequences in the Gh2-K15 antigen localized the HTLV-II-specific epitope to a 17-amino acid sequence. Recombinant antigens containing this epitope should be useful for type-specific serologic diagnosis of HTLV-II infection.

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