Fine specificity of cellular immune responses in humans to human cytomegalovirus immediate-early 1 protein

N J Alp, T D Allport, J Van Zanten, B Rodgers, J G Sissons, L K Borysiewicz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

52 Citations (Scopus)


Cell-mediated immunity is important in maintaining the virus-host equilibrium in persistent human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) infection. The HCMV 72-kDa major immediate early 1 protein (IE1) is a target for CD8+ cytotoxic T cells in humans, as is the equivalent 89-kDa protein in mouse. Less is known about responses against this protein by CD4+ T cells, which may be important as direct effector cells or helper cells for antibody and CD8+ responses. Proliferative-T-cell responses to HCMV IE1 were studied in normal seropositive subjects. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells from 85% of seropositive subjects proliferated in response to HCMV from infected fibroblasts, and of these, 73% responded to recombinant baculovirus IE1. Responding cells were predominantly CD3+ CD4+. IE1 antigen preparations, including baculovirus recombinant protein, transfected rat cell nuclei, and synthetic peptides, induced IE1-specific T-cell lines which cross-reacted between the preparations. The fine specificity of these IE1-specific T-cell lines was studied by using overlapping synthetic peptides encompassing the entire sequence of the IE1 protein. The regions of the IE1 molecule recognized were identified and these varied between individuals, possibly reflecting differences in major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class II haplotype. In one subject, the peptide specificities of proliferative and MHC class I-restricted cytotoxic determinants on IE1 were spatially distinct. Thus, no single immunodominant T-cell determinant within HCMV IE1 was identified, suggesting that multiple peptides or a region of the 72-kDa IE1 protein would be required to induce specific T-cell responses in humans.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4812-20
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Virology
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1991


  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Antibodies, Viral/immunology
  • Antigens, Viral/immunology
  • Cell Line
  • Cell Nucleus/metabolism
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • Cytomegalovirus/genetics
  • Cytotoxicity, Immunologic
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Immunologic
  • Epitopes
  • Immediate-Early Proteins
  • Immunity, Cellular
  • Lymphocyte Activation
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Peptides/immunology
  • Phosphoproteins/immunology
  • Recombinant Proteins/immunology
  • T-Lymphocytes/immunology
  • T-Lymphocytes, Cytotoxic/immunology


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