The fine specificity of the human T cell response to the hepatitis B virus core antigen (HBcAg) was investigated in 23 patients with acute hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection using a panel of short synthetic peptides covering the entire core region. An immunodominant T cell epitope which was recognized by all except one patient, was identified within the core sequence 50-69. Two further important T cell recognition sites were represented by the amino acid sequences 1-20 and 117-131, which were stimulatory for the T cells of 69% and 73% of the patients, respectively. T cell recognition of the synthetic peptides was HLA class II restricted because the peptide-induced T cell proliferation was inhibited by anti-HLA class II but not by anti-HLA class I monoclonal antibodies. These findings may be relevant to the development of future preventive and therapeutic strategies against HBV infection.
Fine specificity of the human T cell response to hepatitis B virus core antigen / Penna, A.; Bertoletti, A.; Cavalli, A.; Valli, A.; Missale, G.; Pilli, M.; Marchelli, S.; Giuberti, T.; Fowler, P.; Chisari, F. V.; Fiaccadori, F.; Ferrari, C.. - In: ARCHIVES OF VIROLOGY. SUPPLEMENTUM. - ISSN 0939-1983. - 4(1992), p. 23-8.
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