Cytotoxic T lymphocyte recognition sites on influenza virus hemagglutinin

Jose V Torres, Philip R. Wyde, M. Zouhair Atassi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


When influenza virus infection occurs, part of the cytotoxic T lymphocyte responses induced are directed to the major surface molecule of the virus, the hemagglutinin. However, despite their potential use as a peptide vaccine, little information is available concerning the submolecular areas in the hemagglutinin that are responsible for its immunologic recognition by cytotoxic T lymphocytes. The primary goal of this study is to determine whether submolecular areas recognized by antibodies and helper T cells are also important in the virus-specific, T lymphocyte-mediated cytotoxic responses generated towards virus-infected cells. A panel of synthetic peptides representing areas of the hemagglutinin, homologous to those in influenza AX-31 virus which have previously been shown to bind anti-influenza virus antibodies and provoke proliferation of virus-primed T-helper lymphocytes, was tested in two different cytotoxicity assays. In the experiments presented here, it was found that when selected peptides were incubated with appropriate L929 target cells, lysis by virus-specific cytotoxic T cells was observed. In addition, AX-31-primed lymphocytes preincubated with these synthetic peptides (both individually and as an equimolar mixture) exhibited enhanced lysis of virus-infected syngeneic targets. The cytotoxic responses showed dose-response characteristics in all cases, and in each of the two assays used the same patterns of cytotoxic induction were observed. The recognition of peptides was MHC-restricted since virus-specific cytotoxic T cells from C3H/He mice (H-2k) lysed L929 (H-2k) target cells after incubation with peptides or viruses, but did not lyse P815 (H-2d) targets under the same conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)49-53
Number of pages5
JournalImmunology Letters
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1988
Externally publishedYes


  • Cytotoxic T lymphocyte
  • Hemagglutinin
  • Influenza virus
  • Recognition site
  • T lymphocyte

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Immunology and Allergy


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