Characterization of a series of mouse monoclonal antibodies (designated αPy C21 to 26) against the region common to the large, middle and small T antigens of polyoma virus has revealed immunological diversities among the N termini of these antigens. Four of the antibodies (αPy C21 to 24) appeared to recognize all the T antigens present in lytically infected cells, but two of them (αPy C25, 26) failed to immunoprecipitate small T antigen either from S- or P-labelled cells and recognized only a subset of middle and large T antigens. None of the antibodies recognized the protein kinase activity normally associated with middle T antigen or the 60K mol. wt. antigen-related protein observed in polyoma virus lytically infected or transformed cells. The possible immunodominance of the N termini of the early gene products (as well as VP1) in the natural host of polyoma virus and the observed antigenic heterogeneity are considered.


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