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Virology. 1997 Jul 21;234(1):62-73.

The signal sequence of lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus contains an immunodominant cytotoxic T cell epitope that is restricted by both H-2D(b) and H-2K(b) molecules.

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Institut de Pharmacologie et de Biologie Structurale, UPR 9062 CNRS, Toulouse, France.


Infection of H-2b mice with lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV) generates three well-characterized H-2D(b)-restricted immunodominant epitopes delineated in the NP, GP1, and GP2 proteins. Here we report that the H-2D(b)-restricted GP1 epitope GP33-41/43 (KAVYNFATC/GI) located in the signal sequence of LCMV is also the immunodominant epitope recognized by CTL at the surface of the same infected cells in the context of H-2K(b) restriction. The GP1 epitope bound to H-2D(b) and H-2K(b) molecules with comparable affinities. The respective binding processes involved different sets of peptide anchoring residues and required dramatically different conformations of the peptide backbone as well as rearrangement of residue side chains. The 10-mer peptide GP34-43 (AVYNFATCGI) was the optimal H-2K(b)-binding sequence and the 8-mer peptide GP34-41 (AVYNFATC) the minimal sequence for optimal H-2K(b)-restricted CTL recognition. Comparison of lytic activities of primary splenic anti-LCMV CTL from C57BL/6 (D(b+)/K(b+)), B10A.[5R] (D(b-)/K(b+)), and B10A.[2R] (D(b+)/K(b-)) mice against LCMV-infected or peptide-coated target cells expressing either one or the two MHC alleles revealed that the H-2K(b)-restricted component of the anti-GP1 CTL response was mounted independently of but as efficiently as its H-2D(b) counterpart. Analysis of the immune response against a GP1 variant that escapes CTL recognition showed that the GP1 epitope: (i) was likely the only immunodominant LCMV epitope in the context of H-2K(b), and (ii) could efficiently evade H-2D(b) and H-2K(b)-restricted CTL mediated lysis.

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