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Vaccine. 2003 Jun 20;21(21-22):2767-81.

A novel multivalent human CTL peptide construct elicits robust cellular immune responses in HLA-A*0201 transgenic mice: implications for HTLV-1 vaccine design.

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Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210, USA.


Cytotoxic T-lymphocytes are critical in the clearance of chronic viral infections such as HTLV-1. Peptide-based vaccines may have potential application in invoking antiviral CTL responses. In the development of vaccination strategies, it is becoming increasingly important to elicit a broad immune response against several epitopes simultaneously that may provide large population coverage. In the present study, we addressed this issue, namely the processing and presentation of multiple CTL epitopes simultaneously for the generation of multispecific CTL responses. We designed a novel multivalent peptide consisting of three HLA-A(*)0201 restricted CTL epitopes, with intervening double arginine residues in tandem. These epitopes were derived from the HTLV-1 regulatory protein Tax, which is an attractive target for vaccine development against HTLV-1. Arginine residues were included to provide cleavage sites for proteasomes, to generate the intended MHC Class I ligands. Proteasomal digestion studies and mass spectrometry analysis showed cleavage of the multivalent construct to generate the individual epitopes. Immunization of HLA-A(*)0201 transgenic mice with this construct efficiently elicited cellular responses to each intended epitope in vivo, further validating the applicability of this approach. These data may have potential in the development of immunotherapeutic strategies for the treatment of HTLV-1 disease and in the future design of multivalent subunit peptide vaccines.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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