Using the murine system we have analyzed an immunogenic T cell peptide epitope corresponding to amino acids 96-112 of the simian immunodeficiency virus-negative regulatory protein sequence. This epitope was unusual in that it was strongly immunogenic in mice of five of the six H-2 haplotypes tested. We generated a T cell hybridoma (SVNF) specific for this peptide in order to determine how manipulating the peptide might alter its immunogenicity. Substitution analysis showed that His 103, Pro 104, Val 106, and Pro 107 were important amino acids for stimulating SVNF because substitutions at these positions diminished the reactivity of SVNF. However, we also found that substituting an Ala for a Val at position 100 or a Val for an Ala at position 110 enhanced reactivity of SVNF. We were able to further enhance the immunogenicity of this epitope by extending the carboxyl terminus two amino acids and making the resulting carboxyl-terminal Lys an amide and by adding a Glu to the amino terminus. These modifications shifted the in vitro activity of SVNF at least two orders of magnitude. We also compared the ability of this modified peptide and the wild-type SIV nef 96-112 to prime a T cell response in vivo. We primed mice with various doses of either the wild-type or the modified peptide and looked at the ability of the draining lymph node cells to proliferate to wild-type peptide. We found that the modified peptide was 10- to 100-fold better at priming a T cell response than the wild-type peptide. Therefore, we were able to create a peptide that was more immunogenic than the wild-type peptide in vivo as well as in vitro. Manipulations such as these that enhance the immunogenicity of T cell epitopes must be considered in developing peptide vaccines against HIV or other infectious agents.
|Number of pages||6|
|Journal||Journal of Immunology|
|State||Published - Jan 1 1992|