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Enumeration of antigenic sites of influenza virus hemagglutinin.

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  • Research Article


The antigenic sites on the hemagglutinin of X-31 (H3) influenza virus have been defined by using a competitive radioimmunoassay with a panel of monoclonal antibodies which includes those known to select variants with substitutions of particular amino acids. The capacity of each monoclonal antibody to block the binding of other radioiodinated monoclones to purified hemagglutinin permitted classification of the panel into four separate groups, each of which defined a particular antigenic site on the hemagglutinin molecule. Three of these are located on the polypeptide backbone and correspond to the "hinge," the "loop," and the "tip/interface" of the X-ray crystallographic model of Wiley et al. (Nature [London] 289:373-378, 1981). Nonreciprocal blocking of certain anti-interface antibodies by anti-loop antibody suggests that much of the exposed surface of the head of the hemagglutinin molecule extending from the loop to the interface may be a continuum of epitopes. A fourth antigenic site is carbohydrate in nature, presumably situated on the antigenic oligosaccharide side chains. These four domains are in addition to two antigenic sites defined by monoclonal antibodies that inhibit neither hemagglutination nor infectivity (Breschkin et al., Virology 113:130-140, 1981;' Yewdell et al., Nature [London] 279:246-248, 1979).

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