The adenovirus (Ad) hexon contains both group- and type-specific antigenic determinants. To identify the latter, peptides were synthesized corresponding to residues 281 to 292 from loop 1 and 441 to 455 from loop 2 of the Ad2 hexon. These sequences display type-specific variation and have been shown by X-ray crystallography to be present on the surface of the virion. Antisera raised against the peptides bound both peptide and the native hexon in ELISA, and blocked virus infectivity, as determined by immunofluorescence or neutralization assays. The loop 1 peptide was shown to inhibit binding of the corresponding antiserum to the native hexon in ELISA and to abolish its neutralizing activity. Neither the loop 1- nor loop 2-specific antiserum neutralized the infectivity of Ad4 or Ad40. Neutralization did not appear to result from aggregation of virus particles and thus their inability to attach to the cell, because virions treated with immune serum were internalized to the same extent as those treated with preimmune serum. Examination of the immune response elicited by Ad2 infection revealed that antibodies directed against the L1 and L2 epitopes were also present in human serum. Thus, the variable regions exposed on the surface of the Ad2 hexon represent type-specific neutralizing antigenic determinants.


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