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AIDS. 1992 Nov;6(11):1249-58.

Qualitative and quantitative analysis of human cytotoxic T-lymphocyte responses to HIV-1 proteins.

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INSERM U152, ICGM, Hôpital Cochin, Paris, France.



To study the degree of immunogenicity of each HIV-1 protein.


In most viral systems, antiviral cytotoxic T-lymphocytes (CTL) from a given donor preferentially recognize only one or a small number of viral proteins.


Anti-HIV CTL were generated by in vitro stimulation of peripheral blood mononuclear cells from seropositive donors and tested against multiple HIV-1 proteins or groups of proteins encoded by seven genes (env, gag, pol, nef, rev, tat and vif). Using autologous target cells infected with recombinant vaccinia viruses expressing one of the HIV-1LAI proteins, we compared the cytolytic activities obtained from bulk culture with those found in limiting dilution analysis (LDA).


Our results were noteworthy for the following reasons. (1) Each responding donor reacted simultaneously to multiple proteins; this is very unusual in other viral systems. Anti-Gag CTL were detected in most, and anti-Pol in approximately three-quarters, of the patients, together with very high amounts of the corresponding CTL precursors in LDA. CTL against Env and Nef were found in two-thirds of the patients, while Vif- and Rev-specific CTL were less frequent. Finally, Tat was seldom recognized by CTL, but its antigenicity was revealed in LDA. (2) All responding cells revealed in bulk cultures as well as in LDA were CD8+ T-cells, and their in vitro differentiation did not require the help of CD4+ T-cells. (3) Proteins from the HIV-1LAI isolate were recognized with high frequency by CTL from seropositive donors, most certainly being infected by other isolates, which suggests that relatively conserved epitopes are predominant targets of CTL.


Taken together, these results are encouraging for vaccine purposes, since anti-HIV-1 CTL stimulation is thought to be a requirement for such a vaccine.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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