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Hum Vaccin Immunother. 2012 Jul;8(7):987-1000. doi: 10.4161/hv.20528. Epub 2012 Jul 1.

Further progress on defining highly conserved immunogenic epitopes for a global HIV vaccine: HLA-A3-restricted GAIA vaccine epitopes.

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EpiVax, Inc., Providence, RI, USA.


Two major obstacles confronting HIV vaccine design have been the extensive viral diversity of HIV-1 globally and viral evolution driven by escape from CD8(+) cytotoxic T-cell lymphocyte (CTL)-mediated immune pressure. Regions of the viral genome that are not able to escape immune response and that are conserved in sequence and across time may represent the "Achilles' heel" of HIV and would be excellent candidates for vaccine development. In this study, T-cell epitopes were selected using immunoinformatics tools, combining HLA-A3 binding predictions with relative sequence conservation in the context of global HIV evolution. Twenty-seven HLA-A3 epitopes were chosen from an analysis performed in 2003 on 10,803 HIV-1 sequences, and additional sequences were selected in 2009 based on an expanded set of 43,822 sequences. These epitopes were tested in vitro for HLA binding and for immunogenicity with PBMCs of HIV-infected donors from Providence, Rhode Island. Validation of these HLA-A3 epitopes conserved across time, clades, and geography supports the hypothesis that epitopes such as these would be candidates for inclusion in our globally relevant GAIA HIV vaccine constructs.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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