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J Infect Dis. 2003 Oct 15;188(8):1171-80. Epub 2003 Sep 30.

Sequence conservation and antibody cross-recognition of clade B human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) type 1 Tat protein in HIV-1-infected Italians, Ugandans, and South Africans.

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  • 1Laboratory of Virology, Istituto Superiore di Sanità, University of Rome "La Sapienza," Rome, Italy.


We determined immune cross-recognition and the degree of Tat conservation in patients infected by local human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) type 1 strains. The data indicated a similar prevalence of total and epitope-specific anti-Tat IgG in 578 serum samples from HIV-infected Italian (n=302), Ugandan (n=139), and South African (n=137) subjects, using the same B clade Tat protein that is being used in vaccine trials. In particular, anti-Tat antibodies were detected in 13.2%, 10.8%, and 13.9% of HIV-1-infected individuals from Italy, Uganda, and South Africa, respectively. Sequence analysis results indicated a high similarity of Tat from the different circulating viruses with BH-10 Tat, particularly in the 1-58 amino acid region, which contains most of the immunogenic epitopes. These data indicate an effective cross-recognition of a B-clade laboratory strain-derived Tat protein vaccine by individuals infected with different local viruses, owing to the high similarity of Tat epitopes.

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