HGP-30, a synthetic analogue of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) p17, is a target for cytotoxic lymphocytes in HIV-infected individuals.


Evaluation of the immune response of individuals exposed to human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is an important component of any plan designed to lead toward the development of an AIDS vaccine. Since the levels of antibodies to HIV p17 and the synthetic p17 peptide HGP-30 correlate with stages of progression to AIDS, studies were initiated to determine whether cytotoxic lymphocytes directed toward target cells pulsed with HGP-30 and radioactive chromium were present in seropositive individuals. The significance of such cells in controlling HIV viral infection has recently been enhanced by reports that HIV p17 is on the surface of infected cells and that an inactivated virus vaccine depleted of viral envelope appears to be effective in controlling expression. The selection of HGP-30 as the p17 peptide to be evaluated in early studies is based on the presence of both T-cell and B-cell epitopes as predicted by computer modeling and mouse studies and the demonstration of in vitro neutralization activity by antibodies to the epitope. By using B-lymphoblastoid cells pulsed with HGP-30 and radioactive chromium as autologous targets and mixed leukocyte culture-expanded peripheral blood lymphocytes as effectors, CD8+ cytotoxic T lymphocytes against HGP-30-coated targets were identified in seropositive individuals. In this report we demonstrate that a synthetic p17 epitope can be a target for major histocompatibility complex-restricted cytotoxic T lymphocytes in HIV-infected individuals.

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