Article

H5N1 strain-specific Hemagglutinin CD4+ T cell epitopes restricted by HLA DR4

Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason, Seattle, WA 98101-2795, United States.
Vaccine (Impact Factor: 3.49). 06/2009; 27(29):3862-9. DOI: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2009.04.019
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT CD4+ T cells play a pivotal role in the viral immunity, and as such identification of unique strain-specific HLA class II restricted epitopes is essential for monitoring cellular strain-specific viral immunity. Using Tetramer-Guided Epitope Mapping technique, we identified HLA-DR0401 restricted HA epitopes that are strain-specific to H5N1 virion. Two immunodominant epitopes H5HA(441-460) and H5HA(57-76) were identified from in vitro stimulated human PBMC. Both epitopes elicit strong cellular immune responses when HLA-DR0401 transgenic mice are immunized with H5N1 subvirion indicating in vivo naturally processed immunodominant epitopes. The H5HA(57-76) epitope is unique for the H5N1 strain but conserved among all H5N1 clades recommended for vaccine development by World Health Organization. The unique H5HA(57-76) response was uncommon in unexposed individuals and only observed in the naïve T cell subset. Thus, H5N1 strain-specific H5HA(57-76) immunogenic epitope represents a unique marker for monitoring the efficacy of vaccination or as a candidate vaccine peptide.

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