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Allelic subtypic determinants of hepatitis B surface antigen (i and t) that are distinct from d/y or w/r.

  • H Ohnuma
  • A Machida
  • H Okamoto
  • F Tsuda
  • M Sakamoto
  • T Tanaka
  • Y Miyakawa
  • M Mayumi
Publication Date
Feb 01, 1993
  • Medicine


A monoclonal antibody (I-18) was raised against an enneapeptide representing amino acids 125 to 133 of the product of the S gene of hepatitis B virus DNA [S(125-133) segment] with a sequence of Thr-Ile-126-Pro-Ala-Gln-Gly-Thr-Ser-Met. Another monoclonal antibody (T-7) was raised against an S(125-133) segment in which Ile-126 was replaced by Thr-126. In a panel of 16 samples of hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) with known S gene sequences, I-18 reacted with 5 with Ile-126. T-7 reacted with 10 HBsAg samples with Thr-126; it did not, however, react with the remaining one of subtype ayw with Thr-126 flanked by Met-125 and Thr-127. The two allelic subtypic determinants, specified by Ile-126 and Thr-126 and distinct from d/y or w/r, were named i and t after isoleucine and threonine, which regulate them. They were expressed in a mutually exclusive fashion in 216 (83%) of 260 HBsAg samples from asymptomatic carriers. They were not detected in 36 (14%) samples; the failure to detect an i or t determinant was particularly common in HBsAg samples of subtype ayw (26 [79%] of 33). A part of the S gene sequence was determined for eight HBsAg samples without a detectable i or t determinant. They had an Ile-126 or Thr-126 residue that was flanked by Thr-127, not the Pro-127 commonly possessed by HBsAg samples displaying an i or t determinant. Expression of the i/t allele, therefore, would require Pro-127. In eight (3%) of the samples, both i and t determinants were detected; the presence of i and t on the selfsame HBsAg particles was verified by sandwiching the particles between I-18 and T-7. A point mutation from thymine to cytosine at nucleotide 377 in the S gene, contributing different second letters to codon 126 (ATT for Ile and ACT for Thr), would have been responsible for the assembly of HBsAg particles with both i and t determinants by means of phenotypic mixing.

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