Detection of antibodies to hepatitis C virus (HCV) structural proteins in anti-HCV-positive sera by an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay using synthetic peptides as antigens.J Clin Microbiol 1993; 31(4):936-40JC
We have defined 10 linear immunogenic regions encoded by the putative hepatitis C virus (HCV) structural proteins (core and envelope) by employing an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and by using 17 sequential synthetic peptides covering the N-terminal 330 amino acids of the structural polyproteins as antigens. These peptides correspond to amino acids 1 to 24, 21 to 44, 42 to 68, 64 to 91, and 100 to 120 of the putative core protein and amino acids 192 to 212, 223 to 238, 236 to 258, 250 to 266, and 307 to 330 of the putative envelope protein. In particular, the peptide covering amino acids 21 to 44 of the core protein was reactive with all but one (40 of 41) of the serum samples giving a positive signal in the passive hemagglutination assay (PHA) using the core and nonstructural proteins (NS 3/4) of the virus as antigens. We detected the HCV genome in 25 (61%) of 41 PHA-positive serum samples by the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test. Of 25 PCR-positive serum samples, 17 serum samples had reactivity to the peptides derived from the envelope protein. On the other hand, only 1 of the 16 PCR-negative serum samples had reactivity to the peptides derived from the envelope protein. Interestingly, we often observed high serum alanine aminotransferase levels in PCR-positive individuals bearing antibodies to the envelope protein.