Fine specificity of the human T cell response to hepatitis B virus core antigen
The fine specificity of the human T cell response to the hepatitis B virus core antigen (HBcAg) was investigated in 23 patients with acute hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection using a panel of short synthetic peptides covering the entire core region. An immunodominant T cell epitope which was recognized by all except one patient, was identified within the core sequence 50–69. Two further important T cell recognition sites were represented by the amino acid sequences 1–20 and 117–131, which were stimulatory for the T cells of 69% and 73% of the patients, respectively.
T cell recognition of the synthetic peptides was HLA class II restricted because the peptide-induced T cell proliferation was inhibited by anti-HLA class II but not by anti-HLA class I monoclonal antibodies.
These findings may be relevant to the development of future preventive and therapeutic strategies against HBV infection.
KeywordsCell Epitope Fine Specificity Core Peptide Core Molecule Short Synthetic Peptide
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