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Immunity. 2000 Jan;12(1):83-93.

Dissecting the multifactorial causes of immunodominance in class I-restricted T cell responses to viruses.

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Laboratory of Viral Diseases, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20892-0440, USA.


Following influenza virus infection, the numbers of mouse TCD8+ cells responding to five different determinants vary more than 50-fold in primary responses but less so in secondary responses. Surprisingly, each determinant elicits a highly diverse and highly sensitive TCD8+ response. Inefficient antigen processing by virus-infected cells accounts for the poor immunogenicity of just one of the subdominant determinants. Overexpressing class I-peptide complexes using vaccinia virus revealed that the poor immunogenicity of two subdominant determinants reflects limitations in T cell responses unrelated to TCR diversity or sensitivity. Despite greatly enhanced expression, the immunodominant determinant is actually less immunogenic when overexpressed by vaccinia virus. Immunodominance is also modulated by determinant-specific variations in the capacity of TCD8+ to suppress responses to other determinants.

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