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J Virol. 1994 Sep;68(9):5835-44.

Induction of feline immunodeficiency virus-specific cytotoxic T cells in vivo with carrier-free synthetic peptide.

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Department of Veterinary Pathology, University of Glasgow, Bearsden, United Kingdom.


The role of cellular immunity in the establishment and progression of immunosuppressive lentivirus infection remains equivocal. To develop a model system with which these aspects of the host immune response can be studied experimentally, we examined the response of cats to a hybrid peptide containing predicted T-and B-cell epitopes from the gag and env genes of feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV). Cats were immunized with an unmodified 17-residue peptide incorporating residues 196 to 208 (from gag capsid protein p24) and 395 to 398 (from env glycoprotein gp120) of the FIV Glasgow-8 strain by using Quil A as an adjuvant. Virus-specific lymphocytotoxicity was measured by chromium-51 release assays. The target cells were autologous or allogeneic skin fibroblasts either infected with recombinant FIV gag vaccinia virus or pulsed with FIV peptides. Effector cells were either fresh peripheral blood mononuclear cells or T-cell lines stimulated with FIV peptides in vitro. Cytotoxic effector cells from immunized cats lysed autologous, but not allogeneic, target cells when they were either infected with recombinant FIV gag vaccinia virus or pulsed with synthetic peptides comprising residues 196 to 205 or 200 to 208 plus 395. Depletion of CD8+ T cells, from the effector cell population abrogated the lymphocytotoxicity. Immunized cats developed an antibody response to the 17-residue peptide immunogen and to recombinant p24. However, no antibodies which recognized smaller constituent peptides could be detected. This response correlated with peptide-induced T-cell proliferation in vitro. This study demonstrates that cytotoxic T lymphocytes specific for FIV can be induced following immunization with an unmodified short synthetic peptide and defines a system in which the protective or pathological role of such responses can be examined.

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