An immunoblot assay for detection of immunoglobulin M antibody to human herpesvirus 6

Clin Diagn Lab Immunol. 2000 Sep;7(5):823-7. doi: 10.1128/cdli.7.5.823-827.2000.


We identified the human herpesvirus 6 (HHV-6)-dominant immunoglobulin M (IgM)-reactive virion protein as being the same 101-kDa protein (101K) previously identified as the major IgG immunoreactive protein and a specific serologic marker of HHV-6 infection. An immunoblot assay (IB) to detect HHV-6-specific IgM antibodies against the 101K protein in human serum samples was developed. The assay was validated by using acute- and convalescent-phase serum collected from children under 2 years of age in which we previously detected IgG seroconversion to the HHV-6 101K protein. Of 32 serum pairs which previously demonstrated IgG seroconversion to the 101K protein, 29 had IgM reactivity to the same protein in the acute-phase sample and the remaining 3 had reactivity in the convalescent-phase sample. We also detected HHV-6 IgM activity in sera collected from individuals > or =4 years of age who were also IgM seropositive to measles or rubella. Results of cross-adsorption studies using measles virus-, rubella virus-, and HHV-6-infected cells as the adsorbing antigen indicated no cross-reactivity between measles or rubella IgM and HHV-6 IgM in human serum samples. The IgM IB detected HHV-6-specific IgM antibody to the 101K protein in 78% (63 of 81) of tested acute-phase serum collected from young children with an undifferentiated rash illness by using a single serum dilution.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Viral / blood*
  • Antibodies, Viral / immunology
  • Antigens, Viral / immunology*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cross Reactions
  • Herpesviridae Infections / blood
  • Herpesviridae Infections / immunology*
  • Herpesvirus 6, Human / immunology*
  • Herpesvirus 6, Human / isolation & purification
  • Humans
  • Immunoblotting / methods
  • Immunoglobulin M / blood*
  • Immunoglobulin M / immunology
  • Infant
  • Measles virus / immunology
  • Rubella virus / immunology
  • Viral Proteins / immunology*


  • 101K protein, Human herpesvirus 6
  • Antibodies, Viral
  • Antigens, Viral
  • Immunoglobulin M
  • Viral Proteins