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J Med Virol. 2011 Jun;83(6):1023-30. doi: 10.1002/jmv.21889.

T-cell response to human papillomavirus type 52 L1, E6, and E7 peptides in women with transient infection, cervical intraepithelial neoplasia, and invasive cancer.

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Department of Microbiology, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Prince of Wales Hospital, Shatin, New Territories, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, China.


The E6 and E7 proteins encoded by human papillomaviruses (HPV) are prime targets for therapeutic vaccine development. Ninety-five women with HPV 52 infection (33 transient infections, 17 cervical intraepithelial neoplasia grade II, 15 cervical intraepithelial neoplasia grade III, and 30 invasive cervical cancers) were examined for T-cell responses using interferon-γ enzyme-linked immunospot (IFN-γ ELISPOT) assay. Of the 29 peptides (13 L1, 10 E6, and 6 E7) screened positive by an in vitro peptide-binding assay, 14 were positive by the IFN-γ ELISPOT assay. Positive epitopes for HLA A11 were located at amino acid positions 103-111, 332-340, 342-350, and 373-381 of the L1 protein; and at 27-35 and 86-94 of the E6 protein; and at 1-9 and 27-35 of the E7 protein. A24-specific epitopes included 60-68 and 98-106 of the L1 protein, 42-50 and 59-67 of the E6 protein, and 24-32 of the E7 protein. Only one epitope (99-107) of the E6 protein showed positive responses for HLA A2 subjects. Overall, T-cell responses against L1 were observed mainly in subjects who had cleared infection; whereas responses against E6 and E7 were confined mainly to subjects who had developed cervical neoplasia. The proportion of subjects showing detectable T-cell responses was low across all grades of cervical neoplasia suggesting that immune evasion mechanisms had set on early in the course of disease progression. This study provides the first set of T-cell epitopes mapped for HPV 52, which can be considered for further evaluation as targets for immunotherapy.

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