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Open AccessArticle

Peptide Epitope Hot Spots of CD4 T Cell Recognition Within Influenza Hemagglutinin During the Primary Response to Infection

David H. Smith Center for Vaccine Biology and Immunology, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, NY 14642, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Pathogens 2019, 8(4), 220;
Received: 2 October 2019 / Revised: 22 October 2019 / Accepted: 29 October 2019 / Published: 5 November 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Influenza Virus and Vaccination)
Antibodies specific for the hemagglutinin (HA) protein of influenza virus are critical for protective immunity to infection. Our studies show that CD4 T cells specific for epitopes derived from HA are the most effective in providing help for the HA-specific B cell responses to infection and vaccination. In this study, we asked whether HA epitopes recognized by CD4 T cells in the primary response to infection are equally distributed across the HA protein or if certain segments are enriched in CD4 T cell epitopes. Mice that collectively expressed eight alternative MHC (Major Histocompatibility Complex) class II molecules, that would each have different peptide binding specificities, were infected with an H1N1 influenza virus. CD4 T cell peptide epitope specificities were identified by cytokine EliSpots. These studies revealed that the HA-specific CD4 T cell epitopes cluster in two distinct regions of HA and that some segments of HA are completely devoid of CD4 T cell epitopes. When located on the HA structure, it appears that the regions that most poorly recruit CD4 T cells are sequestered within the interior of the HA trimer, perhaps inaccessible to the proteolytic machinery inside the endosomal compartments of antigen presenting cells. View Full-Text
Keywords: influenza; CD4 T cell; epitopes; hemagglutinin influenza; CD4 T cell; epitopes; hemagglutinin
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MDPI and ACS Style

Knowlden, Z.A.G.; Richards, K.A.; Moritzky, S.A.; Sant, A.J. Peptide Epitope Hot Spots of CD4 T Cell Recognition Within Influenza Hemagglutinin During the Primary Response to Infection. Pathogens 2019, 8, 220.

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