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Microbes Infect. 2013 Nov;15(13):874-86. doi: 10.1016/j.micinf.2013.08.002. Epub 2013 Aug 19.

Identification of cross-clade CTL epitopes in HIV-1 clade A/E-infected individuals by using the clade B overlapping peptides.

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Center for AIDS Research, Kumamoto University, 2-2-1 Honjo, Chuo-ku, Kumamoto, Japan; AIDS Clinical Center, National Center for Global Health and Medicine, 1-21-1 Toyama, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo, Japan.


Identification of cross-clade T cell epitopes is one of key factors for the development of a widely applicable AIDS vaccine. We here investigated cross-clade CD8(+) T cell responses between clade B and A/E viruses in chronically HIV-1 clade A/E-infected Japanese individuals. CD8(+) T cell responses to 11-mer overlapping peptides derived from Nef, Gag, and Pol clade B consensus sequences were at a similar level to those to the same peptides found in clade B-infected individuals. Fifteen cross-clade CTL epitopes were identified from 13 regions where the frequency of responders was high in the clade A/E-infected individuals. The sequences of 6 epitopes were conserved between the clade B and clade A/E viruses whereas 9 epitopes had different amino acid sequences between the 2 viruses. CD8(+) T cells specific for the 6 conserved epitopes recognized cells infected with the clade A/E virus, whereas those for 8 diverse epitopes recognized both the clade A/E virus-infected and clade B-infected cells. All of the cross-clade CD8(+) T cells specific for conserved and diverse epitopes were detected in chronically HIV-1 clade A/E-infected individuals. These results show that in addition to conserved regions polymorphic ones across the clades can be targets for cross-clade CTLs.


CTL; Cross-clade; Epitope; HIV; HLA

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