Synthesis and Assembly of Hepatitis B Virus Antigens in Heterologous Systems
Hepatitis B virus (HBV) is a particle of 42 nm diameter (the Dane particle) consisting of a core containing the viral genome (3200 base pairs of partially single-stranded DNA (1)) bound to the core protein and its own DNA polymerase (2,3); the virus core is surrounded by a phospholipid-containing envelope carrying the major surface antigenic determinants (HBsAg). These reside in a single protein, which occurs in both a glycosylated and non-glycosylated form of 27,000 and 23,000 daltons respectively (4,5). Infection with hepatitis B virus leads not only to the production of Dane particles but also to a dramatic overproduction of 22 nm large particles and filaments (the HBsAg particle) that contain the elements of the surface envelope. These HBsAg particles are about 1000-fold more immunogenic than the unassembled HBsAg protein (6). Core particles produced by removal of the surface coat protein contain a major polypeptide (the core antigen, HBcAg) of MW 19,000. This protein is very basic and interacts with the viral DNA in the center of the viral particle.
KeywordsCore Antigen Heterologous System Dane Particle GAPDH Promoter SV40 Genome
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