Hyperimmune antisera to purified Sindbis (SIN) or Semliki Forest (SF) virus were used to identify alphavirus-specific and cross-reactive proteins in virions and infected cells. The hyperimmune sera participated in homologous and cross-cytolysis of alphavirus-infected cells, and the use of monospecific antisera to SIN structural proteins suggested that E1 and E2 could serve as target proteins in cytolysis. Proteins from purified virions or infected cells were extracted with Nonidet P-40, denatured by procedures for sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis, transferred to nitrocellulose solid supports, and reacted with hyperimmune sera and 125I-labeled protein A (immunoblotting on denatured proteins). Alternatively, native proteins extracted by mild Nonidet P-40 treatment were precipitated with hyperimmune sera before denaturation by sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis. After immunoblotting, homologous antiserum reacted with the virus structural proteins E1, E2, capsid extracted from purified virions, and the counterparts of these proteins extracted from infected cells. In addition, PE2 and a 92,000-molecular-weight protein from infected cells reacted with homologous antiserum. These proteins were also immunoprecipitated with homologous antiserum. After immunoblotting, the Sindbis capsid protein was shown to be cross-reactive whether derived from purified virions or from infected cells; no cross-reactivity was observed with PE2 or E2 from either source, and the E1 glycoprotein was shown to be cross-reactive only when obtained from virions. However, the E1 glycoprotein could be cross-immunoprecipitated from infected cells (as well as from disrupted virions), and, in addition, capsid and a 92,000-molecular-weight protein were cross-immunoprecipitated from infected cells. These results suggest that a native conformation of the cell-associated E1 glycoproteins may be required for immunological cross-reactivity (immune precipitation), whereas virion but not cell-associated E1 retains immunological cross-reactivity after denaturation (immunoblot technique). The findings extend our previously published evidence which suggested that alphavirus maturation is accompanied by a change in immunological cross-reactivity with respect to E1
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