30 to 40% of Hartley strain guinea pigs have previously been demonstrated to possess a dominant autosomal gene which enables them to recognize the antigenicity of hapten-poly-L-lysine conjugates as expressed by the development of both antihapten antibodies and delayed hypersensitivity to the immunizing antigen. In the present study, it was shown that PLL alone was weakly antigenic in such genetic responder animals. Immunization with DNP-PLL electrostatically combined with foreign albumins elicits the production of anti-DNP antibodies in all Hartley strain guinea pigs, although the percentage of animals demonstrating a delayed response to DNP-PLL and therefore considered genetic responders remains 30 to 40%. Immunization with nonantigenic polyanions combined with DNP-PLL does not produce such an effect. Some degree of PLL specificity of purified anti-DNP antibodies produced by genetic nonresponder animals by immunization with DNP-PLL combined with foreign albumins was demonstrated by means of fluorescence quenching.

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