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J Gen Virol. 2008 Sep;89(Pt 9):2090-7. doi: 10.1099/vir.0.2008/000711-0.

Identification of HLA-A*01- and HLA-A*02-restricted CD8+ T-cell epitopes shared among group B enteroviruses.

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Department of Immunology, Institute for Cell Biology, University of Tübingen, Auf der Morgenstelle 15, 72076 Tübingen, Germany.


Acute enteroviral infections ranging from meningitis, pancreatitis to myocarditis are common and normally well controlled by the host immune system comprising virus-specific CD8+ cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL). However, in some patients enteroviruses and especially coxsackieviruses of group B are capable of inducing severe chronic forms of diseases such as chronic myocarditis. Currently, it is not known whether divergences in the CTL-related immune response may contribute to the different outcome and course of enterovirus myocarditis. A pre-requisite for the study of CTL reactions in patients with acute and chronic myocarditis is the identification of CTL epitopes. In order to define dominant enterovirus CTL epitopes, we have screened, by using gamma interferon (IFN-gamma) ELISPOT, 62 HLA-A*01- and 59 HLA-A*02-positive healthy blood donors for pre-existing CTL reactions against 12 HLA-A*01 and 20 HLA-A*02 predicted CTL epitopes derived from coxsackieviruses of group B. Positive CTL reactions were verified by FACS analysis in a combined major histocompatibility complex-tetramer IFN-gamma staining. A total of 14.8% of all donors reacted against one of the three identified epitopes MLDGHLIAFDY, YGDDVIASY or GIIYIIYKL. The HLA-A*02-restricted epitope ILMNDQEVGV was recognized by 25% of all tested blood donors. For this peptide, we could demonstrate specific granzyme B secretion, a strong cytolytic potential and endogenous processing. All four epitopes were homologous in 36-92% of group B enteroviruses, providing a strong basis for monitoring the divergence of T-cell-based immune responses in enterovirus-induced acute and chronic diseases.

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