Polyclonal antibodies directed against the preS2 and S domains of the woodchuck hepatitis virus (WHV) envelope proteins were prepared using synthetic peptides and fusion polypeptides as immunogens. They were tested by immunoblotting and immunoprecipitation of infected woodchuck sera and lysates of a eukaryotic cell line expressing WHV envelope proteins. Only one anti-peptide serum directed against the preS2 domain was reactive with WHV envelope proteins, recognizing the preS2 and preS1 proteins by their preS2 epitopes. With recombinant fusion proteins we generated several anti-S sera, which recognized all envelope proteins, and anti-preS2 antisera, which recognized the preS proteins. Results obtained with our antisera showed that sera of infected woodchucks lack the low glycosylated form (GP33) of the preS2 protein, unlike human hepatitis B virus.


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