The carbohydrate dependence of epitopes in the herpes simplex virus type 1-specified glycoprotein C (gC) was studied using a new solid-phase assay procedure. Glycoprotein C, coated on 96-well microtitre plates, was treated with sialidase and increasing concentrations of periodate. A sequential removal of peripheral monosaccharides from the oligosaccharides of gC was ascertained by an enzyme-linked lectin assay. By using a panel of gC-specific monoclonal antibodies in ELISA, it was found that gC contained two types of epitopes differing in their dependence on terminal galactose and sialic acid for expression. Control experiments indicated that the carbohydrate-dependent epitopes were peptide structures and that the carbohydrates did not directly participate in the antibody-binding reaction. The carbohydrate-dependent epitopes were mapped to antigenic site II, according to the proposed nomenclature, whereas those expressed also in the absence of peripheral sugars were located mainly in antigenic site I. These results were compatible with the relative distribution of oligosaccharides in the gC molecule.


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