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Cross-Reactive CD8+ T Cell Epitopes Identified in US Adolescent Minorities

Sabbaj Steffanie; Bansal, Anju; Ritter, Douglas G.; Perkins, Christopher; Edwards, Bradley H.; Gough, Ethan; Tang, Jianming; Szinger, James J.; Korber, Bette; Wilson, Craig M.; Kaslow, Richard A.; Mulligan, Mark J.; Goepfert, Paul A.
JAIDS Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes: August 1st, 2003

Vaccines designed to bring forth CD8+ T cell responses in different racial and ethnic groups will require inclusion of T cell epitopes presented by various MHC class I molecules. This study was designed to identify new CD8+ T cell epitopes in HIV-infected African American and Hispanic youth as well as to determine the frequency of responses to both novel and previously described HIV-1 epitopes in a cohort of racially and ethnically diverse individuals. We found 8 MHC class I-restricted CD8+ T cell epitopes that had not been previously described, another 8 epitopes that were restricted by class I alleles not previously associated with these epitopes, and 8 additional epitopes that have been described previously. In a larger cohort, we demonstrated that 11 (69%) of these 16 newly described immunogens were recognized by individuals of different race or ethnicity. Most HIV-1-specific CD8+ T cell epitopes identified were either novel or restricted by alternative MHC class I alleles. Frequent recognition of several of these CTL epitopes in persons of diverse racial backgrounds bodes well for the development of a broadly reactive HIV-1 vaccine.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Steffanie Sabbaj, PhD, Department of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases, 908 20th Street South, CCB 362, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL 35294-2050. E-mail:

These data were presented in part at the AIDS Vaccine Meeting; Philadelphia, PA; September 5-8, 2001.

This work was supported by NICHD grant U01 HD32842 awarded to C.M.W., NIAID grant AI-49126 awarded to P.A.G., and NIAID grant AI-41951 awarded to R.A.K.

Manuscript received month day, year; accepted month day, year.

© 2003 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.