A monoclonal antibody specific for the internal p19 protein of a type-C retrovirus (HTLV) isolated from human neoplastic T cells has been developed. Its specificity has been shown by radioimmune precipitation and by affinity chromatography of iodinated HTLV proteins. By indirect immune fluorescence this antibody recognizes only HTLV-producing cells. Examination of cells from patients with cutaneous T cell lymphomas and leukemias and with other types of lymphomas and leukemias indicated that HTLV p19 expression is rare. The monoclonal antibody will be useful in determining the natural reservoir of HTLV, possibly in a subset of mature T cell neoplasias.

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