Serum samples from 27 patients infected with human T-cell lymphotropic virus type III (14 with acquired immune deficiency syndrome [AIDS] and 13 with AIDS-related complex) were examined for antibodies to viral proteins by the Western blot method and with four different commercial solid-phase enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISAs). Virus-specific bands on blots at molecular masses of 64, 55, 53, 41, 31, 24, and 17 kilodaltons were observed. Rank correlation matrices were calculated to relate the intensity of viral bands, stage of illness, and ELISA kit optical densities (ODs). Groups of bands tended to covary in intensity: p17, p24, and p55 (gag gene products); p53 and p64 (pol gene products); and p31 (pol/endonuclease gene product) and p41 (env gene product). Blots of sera from AIDS-related complex patients usually showed strong activity against all viral proteins, while those of sera from AIDS patients characteristically showed strong reactivity only at the pol/endonuclease and env bands. For one ELISA kit (Abbott Laboratories, North Chicago, Ill.), ODs correlated well with the env and pol band intensity scores, while ELISA ODs with other kits (from Litton Industries, Sunnyvale, Calif.; Electro-Nucleonics, Inc., Fairfield, N.J.; and E. I. du Pont de Nemours & Co., Inc., Wilmington, Del.) correlated closely with gag band intensity scores. We conclude that human T-cell lymphotropic virus type III Western blot patterns are determined by (i) viral protein processing pathways and (ii) the stages of illness of the patient and may reflect (iii) the ELISA method used for serum screening.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Microbiology (medical)