Vaccines prepared from Friend leukaemia virus envelope and core polypeptides were compared for their efficiency in preventing erythroleukaemia in mice. High doses (100 µg) of gp85, the micellar complex of the envelope polypeptides gp70 and p15E, completely protected STU mice. The same dose of purified gp70 still protected about 80% of the animals, while p15E did not affect the cumulative mortality. The internal viral polypeptide p30 was ineffective. Serological examination indicated that immunity against death from leukaemia was mediated by specific antibodies. These leukaemia-preventing antibodies were predominantly induced by immunization with the gp70 gene product, since p15E showed only minor protection. Glycoprotein gp70, however, was more effective when given as the gp85 micellar complex. An even more potent vaccine was obtained when gp70 was coupled to keyhole limpet haemocyanin (KLH) by glutaraldehyde. Ten µg gp70 coupled to KLH was enough to save more than 90% of Friend leukaemia virus-infected mice from erythroleukaemia. KLH may also be a suitable experimental carrier for subunits of gp70 or synthetic oligopeptides for viral vaccines.


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