Location and chemical synthesis of a pre-S gene coded immunodominant epitope of hepatitis B virus

Science  27 Apr 1984:
Vol. 224, Issue 4647, pp. 392-395
DOI: 10.1126/science.6200931


Immunodominant, disulfide-bond independent epitopes recognized by human antibodies to hepatitis B virus (HBV) are located within the 55-residue amino terminal portion (coded for by the pre-S region of HBV DNA) of minor HBV envelope components larger than the major protein constituents encoded by the S gene. A peptide having the sequence of the first 26 amino acids from the amino terminal methionine was synthesized and elicited antibodies (at dilutions of greater than or equal to 1 to 10(5) ) to the HBV envelope. These antibodies can be utilized for diagnostic tests. The immunogenicity of the peptide was substantially increased by covalent attachment to liposomes. The disulfide bond-independent determinants on sequences coded for by the pre-S gene may be more easily mimicked by peptide analogs than "conformational" determinants on the S-gene product.