Australia Antigen (Hepatitis B Antigen): A Conformational Antigen Dependent on Disulfide Bonds

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  22 Dec 1972:
Vol. 178, Issue 4067, pp. 1300-1301
DOI: 10.1126/science.178.4067.1300


Reduction and alkylation of purified hepatitis-associated Australia antigen (hepatitis B antigen) resulted in a total loss of serologic activity. The reduced and alkylated protein formed a single band with a sedimentation coefficient of 31S on analytical ultracentrifugation, and no subunits were detected by Sephadex gel filtration. Although this preparation induced a delayed hypersensitivity response when injected into guinea pigs, it failed to stimulate humoral antibody formation. The data suggest that hepatitis B antigen is a conformational antigen critically dependent upon the disulfide bonds of the protein moiety.