The reactivity of human cord blood sera was directed most frequently in Western blot assays to a protein with an apparent molecular mass of 85 kDa that belongs to the p85 complex, a family of antigenically related proteins identified previously in our laboratory with the aid of two MAbs. We show that the 85 kDa protein is phosphorylated. As antibodies present in the human sera were directed in part to proteins carrying cross-reactive epitopes between human herpesvirus 6 (HHV-6) and 7 (HHV-7), it is remarkable that reactivity to the 85 kDa phosphoprotein was maintained after preabsorption of the sera with HHV-6 antigen, but abolished after preabsorption with HHV-7 antigen. Therefore, the 85 kDa phosphoprotein may be considered a major determinant of the human immune response to HHV-7, discriminating HHV-6 from HHV-7 infection.


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