We have characterized the epitopes of a panel of 12 monoclonal antibodies (Mabs) directed to normal human cellular prion protein (PrP(C)) using ELISA and Western blotting of recombinant PrP or synthetic peptide fragments of PrP. The first group of antibodies, which is represented by Mabs 5B2 and 8B4, reacts with PrP(23-145), indicating that the epitopes for these Mabs are located in the 23 to 145 N-terminal region of human PrP. The second group includes Mabs 1A1, 6H3, 7A9, 8C6, 8H4, 9H7 and 2G8. These antibodies bind to epitopes localized within N-terminally truncated recombinant PrP(90-231). Finally, Mabs 5C3, 2C9 and 7A12 recognize both PrP(23-145) and PrP(90-231), suggesting that the epitopes for this group are located in the region encompassing residues 90 to 145. By Western blotting with PepSpot(TM), only three of Mabs studied (5B2, 8B4 and 2G8) bind to linear epitopes that are present in 13-residue long synthetic peptides corresponding to human PrP fragments. The remaining nine Mabs appear to recognize conformational epitopes. Two N terminus-specific Mabs were found to prevent the binding of the C terminus-specific Mab 6H3. This observation suggests that the unstructured N-terminal region may influence the local conformation within the folded C-terminal domain of prion protein.
Copyright 2000 Academic Press.