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Vaccine. 2005 May 20;23(27):3508-18.

Self HSP60 peptide serves as an immunogenic carrier for a CTL epitope against persistence of murine cytomegalovirus in the salivary gland.

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Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Faculty of Health Sciences and the Cancer Research Center, Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Beer Sheva 84105, Israel.


Murine cytomegalovirus (MCMV) infection is associated with persistence of virus in the salivary glands, despite relatively rapid clearance of virus from the spleen. An effective immunization against MCMV should prevent such viral persistence. We previously reported that a peptide (p458) from the sequence of the 60 kDa heat shock protein (HSP60) molecule in a conjugate vaccine can provide T cell help for the induction of protecting antibody against bacterial capsular polysaccharides. We now report that the p458 peptide as a carrier peptide can also enhance the immunogenicity of a dominant CTL epitope of the MCMV pp89 antigen-89pep. We synthesized a linear combined peptide: chimeric p458-89pep. We immunized young BALB/c mice and challenged them with MCMV. We found that the p458-89pep chimeric peptide was more effective than the 89pep in inducing 89pep-specific IFN(gamma) secretion and specific CTL activity. Moreover, the p458-89pep chimeric peptide induced sustained IFN(gamma) secretion in the salivary gland specific to 89pep and only this immunization was associated with clearance of virus from the salivary gland. These results suggest that a peptide epitope of HSP60 may be advantageous as a T cell carrier peptide in the induction of specific T cell immunity against infectious agents.

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