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Infect Immun. 1991 Oct;59(10):3372-6.

Specific T-cell response to a Pneumocystis carinii surface glycoprotein (gp120) after immunization and natural infection.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, School of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Rochester, New York 14642.


T cells have been shown to be important in recovery from Pneumocystis carinii pneumonitis, although no specific antigen of P. carinii has been defined as containing T-cell epitopes. P. carinii has an abundant mannosylated surface glycoprotein of approximately 120 kDa (gp120) which induces a prominent host antibody response in experimental animals after exposure to P. carinii in the environment or after recovery from P. carinii pneumonitis. P. carinii gp120 was purified from infected lungs by lectin affinity chromatography. Standard in vitro lymphocyte stimulation assays using purified gp120 and control normal lung preparations were performed on isolated T cells obtained from BALB/c mice after immunization with P. carinii-infected crude lung homogenates or lectin-purified gp120. Lymphocytes from reconstituted severe combined immunodeficient mice which had recovered from naturally acquired P. carinii pneumonitis were also tested. A specific T-cell response was elicited by gp120 after immunization with P. carinii gp120 and after recovery from P. carinii pneumonitis. In addition, the mice developed a strong antibody response to gp120 as ascertained by Western blot (immunoblot). These data suggest that gp120 may be important in the recognition of P. carinii by T cells.

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