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Blood. 1995 Aug 15;86(4):1392-9.

Delineation of an immunodominant and human T-cell lymphotropic virus (HTLV)-specific epitope within the HTLV-I transmembrane glycoprotein.

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Department of Molecular Virology, Genelabs Technologies, Inc. Redwood City, CA 94063, USA.


Antibody reactivity to the transmembrane region of human T-cell lymphotropic virus type I (HTLV-I) envelope, gp21, is observed in virtually all individuals infected with HTLV-I or HTLV-II. Recombinant proteins encoding selected portions of gp21 are described and used to define two immunogenic regions. The first epitope (designated GD21-I) contains amino acids 361 to 404 of the HTLV-I envelope and reacted with all of 54 sera from HTLV-I- and HTLV-II-infected individuals. The second epitope (designated BA21) expresses amino acids 397 to 430 of the HTLV-I envelope and was recognized by 33 of 54 HTLV antisera. To determine the specificity of GD21-I and BA21, sera from 17 HTLV-negative individuals with nonspecific reactivity to p21E were tested. None of these sera reacted with GD21-I, but 16 of 17 sera reacted with BA21. With virtually complete reactivity to sera from HTLV-infected individuals and no reactivity to sera from p21E-reactive uninfected individuals, GD21-I will be useful in immunoassays for the detection of HTLV infection.

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