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Mol Immunol. 1992 Sep;29(9):1089-96.

Influenza basic polymerase 2 peptides are recognized by influenza nucleoprotein-specific cytotoxic T lymphocytes.

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  • 1Biological Resources Branch, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892.


Cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL) play an important role in limiting viral infections and in eradicating virus from host tissues. Recent progress in understanding the processing and presentation of viral antigens to CTL indicates that the CTL antigen receptor recognizes peptides derived from viral proteins that are bound to an antigen binding groove present in class I major histocompatibility complex (MHC) molecules. In understanding CTL anti-viral responses and in creating vaccines designed to elicit CTL responses, it is critical to identify the portions of viral proteins that bind class I molecules and are recognized by T cell receptors. Previous findings have indicated that a significant portion of the CTL response of H-2d mice to influenza virus is specific for one of the viral polymerases (PB2). To identify the region of PB2 naturally processed and presented by influenza virus-infected mouse cells to CTL, 31 PB2 peptides of 9-16 residues in length were chosen and chemically synthesized. Two peptides, PB2, residues 146-159 and 187-195, were found to sensitize histocompatible target cells for recognition by influenza virus-specific CTL. When CTL were generated to individual viral proteins using influenza-vaccinia recombinant viruses, we found, to our surprise, that PB2-specific CTL failed to recognize cells sensitized with PB2 peptides 146-159 and 187-195. Further analysis showed that these PB2 peptides were, in fact, recognized by nucleoprotein (NP)-specific CTL generated by NP-vac virus priming and influenza A virus stimulation, or NP peptide stimulation in vitro of NP-vac or influenza A-primed CTL. These results demonstrate that while screening peptide libraries one cannot assume that positive peptides necessarily identify the viral protein to which the CTL response is directed.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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