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J Neuroimmunol. 1997 Jun;76(1-2):50-60.

Preferential recognition of synthetic peptides from HTLV-I gp21 envelope protein by HLA-DRB1 alleles associated with HAM/TSP (HTLV-I-associated myelopathy/tropical spastic paraparesis).

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  • 1Third Department of Internal Medicine, Kagoshima University, Japan.


To determine CD4+ T-cell epitopes of HTLV-I-envelope protein recognized by the HLA alleles associated with HAM/TSP, we established 20 CD4+ T-cell lines from peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) of naive healthy donors using a panel of synthetic peptides spanning the entire length of HTLV-I-envelope proteins, gp46 and gp21. We quantitated the precursor frequencies of HTLV-1-envelope specific CD4+ T-cells and analyzed epitope specificity in the context of HLA alleles. The precursor frequencies ranged from 3.0 to 10.6 per 10(7) PBMCs in the naive healthy donors. The CD4+ T-cell epitopes of HTLV-I-envelope protein were clustered in amino acids 76 to 90, 136 to 160, 171 to 185 and 196 to 210 of gp46, and in amino acids 366 to 400 and 436 to 485 of gp21. The CD4+ T-cell epitopes of gp21 were preferentially recognized by HLA-DRB1 0101 and 1502 which were known to be associated with HAM/TSP. Thus, it was suggested that HTLV-I gp21 might contain the major CD4+ T-cell epitopes recognized by HLA-DRB1 alleles of HAM/TSP.

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