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Eur J Immunol. 2013 Aug;43(8):2055-69. doi: 10.1002/eji.201343417. Epub 2013 Jun 14.

Conserved epitopes dominate cross-CD8+ T-cell responses against influenza A H1N1 virus among Asian populations.

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CAS Key Laboratory of Pathogenic Microbiology and Immunology, Institute of Microbiology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China.


Novel strains of influenza A viruses (IAVs) have emerged with high infectivity and/or pathogenicity in recent years, causing worldwide concern. T cells are correlated with protection in humans through cross-reactive immunity against heterosubtypes of IAV. However, the different hierarchical roles of IAV-derived epitopes with distinct levels of polymorphism in the cross-reactive T-cell responses against IAV remain elusive. In this study, immunodominant epitopes scattered throughout the entire proteome of 2009 pandemic influenza A H1N1 virus and seasonal IAVs were synthesized and divided into different pools depending on their conservation. The overall profile of the IAV-specific CD8(+) T-cell immunity was detected by utilizing these peptide pools and also individual peptides. A dominant role of the conserved peptide-specific T-cell immunity was illuminated within the anti-IAV responses, while the CD8(+) T-cell responses against the variable epitopes were lower than the conserved peptides. As previously demonstrated within a Caucasian population, we determined that GL9-specific T cells, which also utilize Vβ 17 TCR (BV19), play a pivotal role in IAV-specific T-cell immunity within an HLA-A2(+) Asian population. Our study objectively reveals the different predominant roles of T-cell epitopes among IAV-specific cross-reactive cellular immunity. This may guide the development of vaccines with cross-T-cell immunogenicity against heterosubtypes of IAV.


CD8+ T cell; Conserved epitope; Immunodominance; Influenza A H1N1 virus; TCR usage

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