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J Infect Dis. 2002 Jun 15;185(12):1709-16. Epub 2002 May 31.

Cytomegalovirus (CMV) phosphoprotein 65 makes a large contribution to shaping the T cell repertoire in CMV-exposed individuals.

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Institut für Medizinische Immunologie der Charité, Campus Mitte, 10098 Berlin, Germany.


Antigen-specific, cytokine flow cytometry was used to analyze the prevalence and frequency of CD4 and CD8 memory T cells specific for the abundantly expressed cytomegalovirus (CMV) phosphoprotein 65 (pp65) in healthy CMV IgG-seropositive individuals. Stimulation of peripheral blood mononuclear cells with peptide pools and individual peptides derived from the pp65 amino acid sequence in 40 donors revealed that 63% of donors had a detectable CD4 T cell response and that 83% of donors had a detectable CD8 T cell response against this protein. The overall frequencies of T cells directed against pp65 were analyzed for 20 donors by stimulation with peptide pools covering the complete pp65 protein and were as high as 2 in 1000 and 9 in 1000 (median) peripheral blood CD4 and CD8 T cells, respectively. In addition, a comparison between CD4 responses to a CMV lysate containing various CMV proteins and pp65-specific responses in 9 donors indicated that pp65 was a dominant target of the CMV-specific CD4 T cell response in some, but not all, donors. Several new T cell epitopes were identified.

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