Radioimmunological techniques were utilized to probe possible changes in conformation of gonadotropins (human chorionic gonadotropin-hCG; and ovine luteinizing hormone—oLH) following chemical deglycosylation (DG-hCG and DG-LH). All antisera produced in rabbits, rats or mice contained antibodies that were specific to the deglycosylated hormones with the native hormones showing weak and non-parallel cross-reaction (<5%), but with rabbit antibodies to native hormones the deglycosylated hormones were fully reactive. Using hCG, asialo-hCG (A-hCG) and DG-hCG, we have shown that removal of sugars internal to sialic acid is required to produce these specific antibodies. These are in complete agreement with the observations that extensive deglycosylation of these hormones is necessary to induce changes in biological activity at the cellular level. Based on these data, we suggest that chemical deglycosylation results in changes in antigenic structure of these hormones by generation of new determinants or exposure of previously buried sites and these changes are of no consequence to receptor recognition.

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