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It is not known how human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1)-derived antagonist peptides interfere with intracellular activation of cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL). We identified Gag epitope variants in HIV-1-infected patients that act as antagonists of CTL responses to unmutated epitopes. We then investigated the effect that presentation of each variant has on the early events of T cell receptor (TCR) signal transduction. We found that altered peptide ligands (APL) failed to induce phosphorylation of pp36, a crucial adaptor protein involved in TCR signal transduction. We further investigated the effect that simultaneous presentation of APL and native antigen at low, physiological, peptide concentrations (1 nM) has on TCR signal transduction, and we found that the presence of APL can completely inhibit induction of the protein tyrosine phosphorylation events of the TCR signal transduction cascade.

Original publication




Journal article


Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A

Publication Date





4527 - 4532


Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome, Amino Acid Sequence, Antigen-Presenting Cells, B-Lymphocytes, Cell Line, Cytotoxicity, Immunologic, Epitopes, Gene Products, gag, Genetic Variation, HIV-1, Humans, Lymphocyte Activation, Peptide Fragments, Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, Recombinant Fusion Proteins, Signal Transduction, T-Lymphocytes, Cytotoxic