We analysed the antigenic properties of human cytomegalovirus (CMV) glycoprotein B (gB) by constructing a set of deletion derivatives lacking different portions of the carboxy terminus and reacting them with a panel of monoclonal antibodies with neutralizing activity. We found that two novel antigenic domains that bind neutralizing antibodies were assembled on truncated forms of gB, one in the aminoterminal half and one that spans the midregion of the molecule. Assembly of the conformation-dependent epitopes occurred independently of residues in the carboxy-terminal half of the molecule and did not depend on proteolytic cleavage of the molecule between amino acids 460 and 461. Ten antibodies recognized a derivative with 447 amino-terminal residues; their failure to recognize a derivative 411 residues long suggested that the amino acids required for assembly of these epitopes either were incorrectly folded, or had been totally or partially deleted in this derivative. Epitopes for three antibodies with complement-independent neutralizing activity were assembled when amino acids from the midregion of gB between residues 447 and 476 were present. Two other antigenic domains were formed by the addition of residues 476 to 618 and 619 to 645 from the carboxy-terminal half of gB. Our results underscore the importance of conformation in the antigenic structure and functional properties of both the amino- and carboxy-terminal portions of gB.


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