Antibodies in Anti-HBe—positive patient sera bind to an HBe protein expressed on the cell surface of human hepatoma cells: Implications for virus clearance

Authors

  • Hans-jürgen Schlicht Ph.D.,

    Corresponding author
    1. Zentrum für Molekulare Biologie, University of Heidelberg, 6900 Heidelberg, FRG
    Current affiliation:
    1. Department of Virology, University of Ulm, Albert Einstein Allee 11, 7900 Ulm, FRG
    • Abt. Virologie, Universität Ulm, Albert Einstein Allee 11, D-7900 Ulm, FRG
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  • Albrecht von Brunn,

    1. Zentrum für Molekulare Biologie, University of Heidelberg, 6900 Heidelberg, FRG
    Current affiliation:
    1. Max von Pettenkofer Institut, Universität München, Pettenkoferstr.9a, 8000 München, FRG
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  • Lorenz Theilmann

    1. Medizinische Universitätsklinik, University of Heidelberg, 6900 Heidelberg, FRG
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Abstract

The relevance of the recently described membrane-bound form of the HBe protein for the antiviral immune response was examined. The data show that antibodies in anti-HBe, but not in anti-HBc—positive human sera efficiently bind to the membrane expressed HBe. No evidence was obtained that the HBc can reach the cell surface in a form that can be detected with human antibodies. The findings suggest that the decline of virus titer that is usually observed after seroconversion from HBe to anti-HBe might be the result of an antibody-mediated elimination of infected cells. (HEPATOLOGY 1991;13:57–61).

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