Definition of an epitope on Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV) envelope protein recognized by JEV-specific murine CD8+ cytotoxic T lymphocytes
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We defined an epitope on the Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV) envelope (E) protein recognized by CD8+ cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs). CTLs induced in JEV-infected BALB/c (H-2d) mice recognized E and/or premembrane (PrM) proteins, while CTLs in C57BL/6J (H-2b) and C3H/HeJ (H-2k) mice did not. JEV-specific CTLs had a phenotype of CD3+ CD4− CD8+. Twenty-four 9-amino acid (a.a.) peptides, which had binding motifs for H-2Kd, H-2Ld or H-2Dd, were synthesized according to the amino acid sequences of PrM and E proteins. CTLs induced by JEV infection recognized only the peptide K-3. Immunization of BALB/c mice with only a group of peptides including K-3 induced CTLs which recognized the homologous K-3 peptide, while immunization with other peptides did not. The peptide K-3 had a binding motif for H-2Kd. This is consistent with the finding that JEV-specific CTLs in BALB/c mice was H-2Kd-restricted.
These results indicate that the epitope recognized by CTLs in BALB/c mice is located between a.a. 60 and 68 on the E protein, corresponding to an a.a. sequence of CYHASVTDI.
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