By means of monoclonal antibodies (MAbs), five (groups of) epitopes were identified on particles of beet necrotic yellow vein virus (BNYVV). Epitopes 1 and 2, which were located on the opposite extremities of virus particles, are discontinuous (SDS-labile) epitopes which were destroyed when the particles were treated with trypsin. Epitope 3 is a continuous (SDS-stable) epitope lcoated at the same extremity as epitope 2. It was not destroyed when the particles were treated with trypsin and was present on an -expressed fusion protein containing amino acids (aa) 1 to 103 of the BNYVV coat protein. The continuous epitope 4, which was located along the entire length of the particles, was found to be present on a fusion protein containing aa 104 to 188 of the BNYVV coat protein but not on trypsin-treated virus particles. In Western blots, these treated particles yielded two slightly smaller coat proteins which failed to react with MAbs specific for epitope 4 but did react with polyclonal antisera and MAbs specific for epitope 3. BNYVV coat protein has a trypsin cleavage site on the carboxyl side of arginine in position 182, so it is therefore suggested that epitope 4 is located on the exposed C terminus, which is composed of aa 183 to 188. Epitope 5 was also located along the entire length of the particles but in a more uneven distribution than epitope 4. This may be because it is a discontinuous epitope that is very sensitive to subtle changes in protein conformation.


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