Highly purified plasma membranes were isolated from chicken embryo fibroblasts infected with Marek's disease virus (MDV) or turkey herpes virus (HVT). The purification was monitored by the incorporation of fucose and marker enzymes specific for plasma membranes. Polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis showed that the membrane preparations contained two new virus-induced proteins. When reacted in the double immunodiffusion test solubilized plasma membranes from MDV-infected cells formed two specific precipitation bands with Marek's disease immunoglobulins.

Antisera prepared against plasma membranes from MDV- or HVT-infected cells neutralized extracellular infectious HVT. After incubation of plasma membranes from MDV-infected cells with Marek's disease antibodies the buoyant density of the membranes increased from 1.05 g/ml to 1.08 g/ml due to the binding of immunoglobulins to the virus-induced membrane proteins. The Marek's disease mortality of chickens twice vaccinated with a plasma membrane preparation from HVT-infected cells was reduced by 94%.

From the results it was concluded that the plasma membranes acquire new immunologic specificities after infection with MDV or HVT.


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