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Viral Immunol. 2006 Summer;19(3):458-67.

Immunogenic variation between multiple HLA-A*0201-restricted, Hepatitis C Virus-derived epitopes for cytotoxic T lymphocytes.

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Department of Microbiology, Saitama Medical School, Saitama, Japan.


CD8+ cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) play a critical role in the immune control of Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) infection. In the current study, a number of HLA-A*0201-restricted CTL epitopes derived from HCV were evaluated by examining the peptide-binding affinity for major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I molecules, the stability of peptide-MHC complexes, killing activities of peptide-induced CTLs, and frequencies of intracellular interferon (IFN)-gamma-positive CD8+ T cells. Among 24 peptides tested, 15 peptides induced high or medium killing activities of peptide-specific CTLs. Thirteen of the 15 peptides exhibited high or medium binding affinities for HLA-A*0201 molecules, indicating that the high binding affinity for MHC class I molecules is an important factor for immunogenicity. In contrast, the stability of peptide-MHC class I complexes was not correlated with killing activities of peptide-induced CTLs. Furthermore, only a limited number of peptides could induce high or medium frequencies of IFN-gamma-producing CD8+ T cells, which were generally considered to play a crucial role for the clearance of HCV. Analyses of the immunogenicity of CTL epitopes such as in the current study should provide important information about the design of an efficient HCV vaccine that induces vigorous, sustained, and broad HCV-specific CTL responses.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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