Hybrid cell lines were prepared by the fusion of mouse myeloma cells with the spleen cells of Wistar-Furth rats that had been immunized with a Moloney sarcoma virus (Mo-MuSV)-induced tumour, MFU. Two immunization protocols were designed. In the first, the animals received several injections of irradiated (10000 rad) cells of a tumour cell line established , MFU-67. The rats received a booster injection 3 days prior to fusion. In the second protocol, immunization was the result of simple tumour growth, and no booster was given. Hybrids were tested by immunofluorescence for the production of immunoglobulins reacting with mouse cells acutely infected with Mo-MuSV. Over 20% of reactive hybrids were observed in the tumour growth protocol, and about 10% in the irradiated cell protocol when the last injection of the series was given 2 weeks before fusion. After 6 months, the proportion fell to 3%. Hybrid lines producing antibody to p30, the major core polypeptide of murine retroviruses, were obtained by cloning. Three of these were selected for closer study and were found to recognize three non-overlapping epitopes on p30. By direct and competitive binding in ELISA tests, the three epitopes were found to have very different distribution patterns among the various strains and isolates of murine retroviruses.


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