Serum samples of 67 asymptomatic carriers were tested for Dane particles by electron microscopy, and for e antigen by immunodiffusion, as well as for hepatitis B antigen-associated DNA polymerase activity, and four samples enriched with respect to Dane particles were selected. Hepatitis B antigen particles in them were separated from e antigen and concentrated by centrifugation, and the Dane-rich preparations were incubated with buffer, antibody to e antigen (anti-HBe) or antibody to hepatitis B surface antigen. After centrifugation, the supernatant was tested for DNA polymerase activity, and both supernatant and precipitate were tested for hepatitis B core antigen (HBcAg) by the immune adherence haemagglutination method after the coat of the Dane particles had been disrupted with NP-40 and 2-mercaptoethanol. It was found that anti-HBe did not precipitate Dane particles as measured by DNA polymerase activity and HBcAg. On the basis of the results obtained, it has been concluded that e antigen does not exist on the surface of hepatitis B virions.


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