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J Virol. 2003 May;77(10):6076-81.

Two major histocompatibility complex class I-restricted epitopes of the Borna disease virus p10 protein identified by cytotoxic T lymphocytes induced by DNA-based immunization.

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Department of Bioscience, Salem International University, Salem, West Virginia 26426-0500, USA.


Borna disease virus (BDV) infection of Lewis rats is the most studied animal model of Borna disease, an often fatal encephalomyelitis. In this experimental model, BDV-specific CD8(+) cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) play a prominent role in the immunopathogenesis of infection by the noncytolytic, persistent BDV. Of the six open reading frames of BDV, CTLs to BDV X (p10) and the L-polymerase have never been studied. In this study, we used plasmid immunization to investigate the CTL response to BDV X and N. Plasmid-based immunization was a potent CTL inducer in Lewis rats. Anti-X CTLs were primed by a single injection of the p10 cDNA. Two codominant p10 epitopes, M(1)SSDLRLTLL(10) and T(8)LLELVRRL(16), associated with the RT1.A(l) major histocompatibility complex class I molecules of the Lewis rats, were identified. In addition, immunization with a BDV p40-expressing plasmid confirmed the previously reported RT1.A(l)-restricted A(230)SYAQMTTY(238) peptide as the CTL target for BDV N. In contrast to the CTL responses, plasmid vaccination was a poor inducer of an antibody response to p10. Three injections of a recombinant eukaryotic expression plasmid of BDV p10 were needed to generate a weak anti-p10 immunoglobulin M response. However, the antibody response could be optimized by a protein boost after priming with cDNA.

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