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Viral peptides are recognized by cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL) as a complex with major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I molecules, but the extent to which a single HLA allele can accommodate epitope peptides of different length and sequence is not well characterized. Here we report the identification of clonal CTL responses from the same donor that independently recognize one of two HLA-B57-restricted epitopes, KAFSPEVIPMF (KF11; p24(Gag) residues 30 to 40) and KAFSPEVI (KF8; p24(Gag) residues 30 to 37). Although lysis studies indicated that the KF11 peptide stabilized the HLA-B57-peptide complex more efficiently than the KI8 peptide, strong clonal responses were directed at each epitope. In samples from a second donor, the same phenomenon was observed, in which distinct CTL clones recognized peptide epitopes presented by the same HLA class I allele (in this case, HLA-A3) which were entirely overlapping. These data are relevant to the accurate characterization of CTL responses, which is fundamental to a detailed understanding of MHC class I-restricted immunity. In addition, these studies demonstrate marked differences in the length of peptides presented by HLA-B57, an allele which is associated with nonprogressive human immunodeficiency virus infection.

Original publication




Journal article


J Virol

Publication Date





5291 - 5299


Adolescent, Amino Acid Sequence, Child, Epitope Mapping, Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte, Gene Products, gag, HIV Antigens, HIV Core Protein p24, HIV Infections, HIV-1, HLA-B Antigens, Humans, Male, Molecular Sequence Data, T-Lymphocytes, Cytotoxic, Viral Proteins, gag Gene Products, Human Immunodeficiency Virus