Hepatitis B surface antigen was adsorbed to insolubilized sialic acid-specific haemagglutinin isolated from the haemolymph of . Treatment of the antigen with neuraminidase (EC resulted in the release of sialic acid and in an increase of the isoelectric point from pH 4.35 (for subtype ) or 4.9 (for subtype ) to pH 5.45. Treated, but not untreated, antigen incorporated [C]-sialic acid when incubated at 37 °C with sialyl transferase (EC and cytidine-5′-monophosphate-[C]-sialic acid. The major portion of [C]-sialic acid was linked to a glycoprotein with an apparent mol. wt. of 26 × 10. De-sialylated antigen had a drastically reduced life span in rabbit plasma and elicited a higher humoral antibody response than intact antigen (subtype ). Antigen-stimulated proliferation of lymphocytes, measured 3 months after immunization, was observed only with cells from rabbits injected with neuraminidase-treated antigen.


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