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Clin Immunol. 2012 May;143(2):99-115. doi: 10.1016/j.clim.2012.01.015. Epub 2012 Feb 10.

Immunodominance: a pivotal principle in host response to viral infections.

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University of Toronto, Institute of Medical Science and Department of Immunology, Toronto, Canada M5S1S8.


We encounter pathogens on a daily basis and our immune system has evolved to mount an immune response following an infection. An interesting phenomenon that has evolved in response to clearing bacterial and viral infections is called immunodominance. Immunodominance refers to the phenomenon that, despite co-expression of multiple major histocompatibility complex class I alleles by host cells and the potential generation of hundreds of distinct antigenic peptides for recognition following an infection, a large portion of the anti-viral cytotoxic T lymphocyte population targets only some peptide/MHC class I complexes. Here we review the main factors contributing to immunodominance in relation to influenza A and HIV infection. Of special interest are the factors contributing to immunodominance in humans and rodents following influenza A infection. By critically reviewing these findings, we hope to improve understanding of the challenges facing the discovery of new factors enabling better anti-viral vaccine strategies in the future.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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