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Identification of cryptic MHC I-restricted epitopes encoded by HIV-1 alternative reading frames.

Abstract : Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) 1 major histocompatibility complex (MHC) I-restricted epitopes are widely believed to be derived from viral proteins encoded by primary open reading frames. However, the HIV-1 genome contains alternative reading frames (ARFs) potentially encoding small polypeptides. We have identified a panel of epitopes encoded by ARFs within the gag, pol, and env genes. The corresponding epitopic peptides were immunogenic in mice humanized for MHC-I molecules. In addition, cytotoxic T lymphocytes recognizing these epitopes were found in HIV-infected patients. These results reveal the existence of atypical mechanisms of HIV-1 epitope generation. They indicate that the repertoire of epitopes recognized by the cellular anti-HIV-1 immune response is broader than initially thought. This should be taken into account when designing vaccine strategies aimed at activating these responses.
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Sylvain Cardinaud, Arnaud Moris, Michèle Février, Pierre-Simon Rohrlich, Laurence Weiss, et al.. Identification of cryptic MHC I-restricted epitopes encoded by HIV-1 alternative reading frames.. Journal of Experimental Medicine, Rockefeller University Press, 2004, 199 (8), pp.1053-63. ⟨10.1084/jem.20031869⟩. ⟨pasteur-01372661⟩

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