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Virology. 2000 Aug 1;273(2):374-82.

Papillomavirus virus-like particles for the delivery of multiple cytotoxic T cell epitopes.

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Center for Immunology and Cancer Research, Princess Alexandra Hospital, Woolloogabba, Queensland, 4102, Australia.


Chimeric papillomavirus (PV) virus-like particles (VLPs) based on the bovine papillomavirus type 1 (BPV-1) L1 protein were constructed by replacing the 23-carboxyl-terminal amino acids of the BPV1 major protein L1 with an artificial "polytope" minigene, containing known CTL epitopes of human PV16 E7 protein, HIV IIIB gp120 P18, Nef, and reverse transcriptase (RT) proteins, and an HPV16 E7 linear B epitope. The CTL epitopes were restricted by three different MHC class I alleles (H-2(b), H-2(d), HLA-A*0201). The chimeric L1 protein assembled into VLPs when expressed in SF-9 cells by recombinant baculovirus. After immunization of mice with polytope VLPs in the absence of adjuvant, serum antibodies were detected which reacted with both polytope VLPs and wild-type BPV1L1 VLPs, in addition to the HPV16E7 linear B cell epitope. CTL precursors specific for the HPV16 E7, HIV P18, and RT CTL epitopes were also detected in the spleen of immunized mice. Polytope VLPs can thus deliver multiple B and T epitopes as immunogens to the MHC class I and class II pathways, extending the utility of VLPs as self-adjuvanting immunogen delivery systems.

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