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Clin Exp Immunol. 1991 Aug;85(2):219-23.

Characterization of antibodies reacting with HIV gag proteins occasionally found in the serum of non-infected subjects.

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  • 1Division of Immunology and Allergy, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Vaudois, Lausanne, Switzerland.


The use of serological tests for the diagnosis of HIV infection has revealed that some non-infected persons have antibodies that react with HIV-1 gag proteins. Here, the sera of three non-infected subjects reacting with p17 and 11 non-infected subjects reacting with p24 were investigated, using an enzyme immunoassay (EIA) with six recombinant gag antigens and Western blot analysis of proteolytic peptides of two of these gag antigens. The results indicate that whereas all p17-reactive sera could react with an unique epitope, individual p24-reactive sera recognize different epitopes. Investigations by EIA also demonstrated the role of sequences located far from the epitopes in making these epitopes accessible to the antibodies or in providing them with an antigenic conformation. In addition to the 14 subjects mentioned above, another subject was shown to have antibodies reacting with the p9 (NC) gag protein. Several proteins are known as having homology with HIV-1 gag proteins. Their possible role in eliciting cross-reactive antibodies is discussed.

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