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J Immunol. 1997 Feb 15;158(4):1507-15.

MHC affinity, peptide liberation, T cell repertoire, and immunodominance all contribute to the paucity of MHC class I-restricted peptides recognized by antiviral CTL.

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  • 1Laboratory of Viral Diseases, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.

Abstract

MHC class I-restricted T cell responses to viral proteins focus on a limited set of peptides. To better understand this phenomenon, we examined all of the 26 nonameric peptides encoded by the influenza virus A/Puerto Rico/8/34 (PR8) conforming to the canonical Kd binding motif. Ten peptides bound strongly to Kd as assessed by a cell surface stabilization assay. Five of these 10 induced in vitro secondary CD8+ T cell responses from splenocytes derived from PR8-immunized mice. The strongest responses were induced by the two previously defined antigenic peptides, which ranked only second and fifth in relative binding affinity. To examine the limiting factors in the immunogenicity of Kd-binding peptides, we produced recombinant vaccinia viruses (rVVs) expressing cytosolic or endoplasmic reticulum (ER)-targeted peptides. rVVs expressing ER-targeted versions of the 7 peptides with the highest relative affinities for Kd rescued Kd cell surface expression in T2 cells, while those expressing the 3 lowest affinity peptides did not. The immunogenicity of several, but not all, of the highest affinity peptides was greatly enhanced when expressed as VV-encoded cytosolic or ER-targeted peptides as compared with full length proteins. We conclude that limitations in the immunogenicity of class I binding peptides reflects, in order of decreasing importance, peptide liberation by cellular proteases, T cell repertoire, and TAP-mediated peptide transport. We also observed an additional important contributing factor: suppression of T cell responses to nondominant peptides by an immunodominant peptide located in the same protein.

PMID:
9029084
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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