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J Virol Methods. 1987 May;16(1-2):125-37.

Detection of HIV envelope specific antibodies by immunoelectron microscopy and correlation with antibody titer and virus neutralizing activity.


Human antisera positive for HIV were evaluated on HTLV-IIIB producing cells by two different immunoelectron microscopic (IEM) techniques. In preembedding immunoferritin IEM a heavy label was observed with early budding HIV. Under the same conditions cell released 'mature' particles were almost negative, which could be explained by the direct observation that most of the surface glycoprotein knobs are lost spontaneously during virus maturation. Using freshly infected cultures after agarose embedding, immunogold labelling of ultrathin cryosections allowed us to detect and differentiate internal core as well as virus envelope antigens. A good qualitative correlation between neutralization titers and IEM labelling intensity was observed. This type of immunocryoultramicrotomy appears to be useful for the detection of antigens in and on the virion. It might turn out valuable for the characterization of the env gp120 epitopes of HIV.

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