The antigens from cytolytic infections of HEp2 cells by type I simian foamy virus produced two multicomponent precipitation lines when tested by immunodiffusion with the homologous hyperimmune rabbit antiserum. The antigens obtained from a non-productive infection of MK5 virus in HEp2 cells produced only those precipitation lines which corresponded with the inner lines obtained from the cytolytic infection. Similarly, hyperimmune rabbit antiserum against antigens extracted from the persistent infection lacked the antibody which was responsible for the outer lines of precipitation. Indirect immunofluorescence with acetone-fixed and unfixed cells using the homologous and heterologous sera confirmed the absence of antigens in the persistent infection and showed that an antigen is produced in the persistently infected cells which is either absent or present in very small amounts in cytolytically infected cells. Neutralization experiments and ether treatment suggested that the missing antigens in the persistent infection were the envelope components of foamy virus. It is proposed that the persistent infection has properties in common with some infections by RNA tumour viruses.


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