The viral antigenic determinants recognized in an autogenous immune response in mice against their endogenous C-type virus have been identified by SDS-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis of immune precipitates between various sera and H3-labeled intact or disrupted AKR leukemia virus. Normal B6C3F1 [(C57BL/6 x C3H/Anf)F1] serum reacts with viral envelope antigens having mol wt of approximately 68,000, 43,000, and 17,000. In addition, minor reactions with viral antigens having mol wts of approximately 19,000 and 15,000 are demonstrable. The 68,000 and 43,000 mol wt antigens can be labeled with [3H]glucosamine and may correspond to the major viral envelope antigens M2 and M1, respectively.
The antigens recognized by autogenous immune sera do not differ with respect to age of the animal, nor are they significantly different in sera from various strains of mice (BALB/c, C57BL/6, and C3H/Anf). These results suggest that the age-asociated and strain variations in the autogenous immune response, as determined by radioimmune precipitation assays against intact virus, are due to quantitative and qualitative alterations of antibody levels against common antigens.