The glycoprotein complex gp58/116 of human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) represents a dominant antigen for the humoral immune response. We have used the human monoclonal antibody C23, which is capable of neutralizing HCMV in tissue culture without the addition of complement, to study the origin of gp116 as well as the amino acid sequence recognized by the antibody. Our results show that gp116 is derived from the same open reading frame as gp58 and that it represents the amino-terminal portion of the precursor protein. Using prokaryote-expressed β-galactosidase-gp116 fusion proteins, the binding site of C23 was located to between amino acids 27 to 84 of the amino-terminal portion of gp116. Analyses of HCMV-positive human sera revealed that this portion of the molecule is immunogenic during natural infection.


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