HLA-A2-restricted human CD8(+) cytotoxic T lymphocyte responses to a novel epitope in vaccinia virus that is conserved among orthopox viruses.
Classical major histocompatibility complex class I-restricted CD8(+) cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) play an important role in protective immunity against infection with smallpox virus. The identification of target antigens is crucial for defining the role played by CD8(+) CTL responses in host resistance to smallpox and for the design of vaccines that produce effective cell-based responses. We report the identification of a novel human leukocyte antigen-A*0201-restricted epitope (J8R(11-19)) within A55R of vaccinia virus (VV) that is conserved in J8R of smallpox virus variola major. The J8R(11-19)-specific CTL line and CTL clone exerted physiologically relevant functions as they recognized VV-infected lymphoblastoid JY cells or autologous B lymphoblastoid cell lines, and the cytolytic activity was accompanied by the production of interferon- gamma , tumor necrosis factor- alpha , and interleukin-2. The CTL response was detected in individuals who had been vaccinated >30 years ago or had recently received a booster of current smallpox vaccine (Dryvax) but not in VV-naive donors.
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