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HLA-A*0201-restricted CD8+ T-cell epitopes identified in dengue viruses

Zhi-Liang Duan12, Qiang Li13, Zhi-Bin Wang1, Ke-Dong Xia1, Jiang-Long Guo1, Wen-Quan Liu1 and Jin-Sheng Wen1*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Wenzhou Medical College, Wenzhou, China

2 Department of Clinical Laboratory, The Second Affiliated Hospital of Wenzhou Medical College, Wenzhou, China

3 Department of Clinical Laboratory, The people’s Hospital of Ruian, Wenzhou, China

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Virology Journal 2012, 9:259  doi:10.1186/1743-422X-9-259

Published: 5 November 2012



All four dengue virus (DV) serotypes (D1V, D2V, D3V and D4V) can cause a series of disorders, ranging from mild dengue fever (DF) to severe dengue hemorrhagic fever and dengue shock syndrome (DHF/DSS). Previous studies have revealed that DV serotype-specific CD8+ T cells are involved in controlling DV infection. Serotype cross-reactive CD8+ T-cells may contribute to the immunopathogenesis of DHF/DSS. The aim of the study was to identify HLA-A*0201-binding peptides from four DV serotypes. We then examined their immunogenicity in vivo and cross-reactivity within heterologous peptides.


D1V-derived candidate CD8+ T-cell epitopes were synthesized and evaluated for their affinity to the HLA-A*0201 molecule. Variant peptides representing heterologous D2V, D3V, D4V serotypes were synthesized. The immunogenicity of the high-affinity peptides were evaluated in HLA-A*0201 transgenic mice.


Of the seven D1V-derived candidate epitopes [D1V-NS4a56–64(MLLALIAVL), D1V-C46–54(LVMAFMAFL), D1V-NS4b562–570(LLATSIFKL), D1V-NS2a169–177(AMVLSIVSL), D1V-NS4a140–148(GLLFMILTV), D1V-NS2a144–152(QLWAALLSL) and D1V-NS4b183–191(LLMRTTWAL)], three peptides [D1V-NS4a140–148, D1V-NS2a144–152 and D1V-NS4b183–191] had a high affinity for HLA-A*0201 molecules. Moreover, their variant peptides for D2V, D3V and D4V [D2V-NS4a140–148(AILTVVAAT), D3V-NS4a140-148(GILTLAAIV), D4V-NS4a140-148(TILTIIGLI), D2V-NS2a144–152(QLAVTIMAI), D3V-NS2a144–152(QLWTALVSL), D4V-NS2a143–151(QVGTLALSL), D2V-NS4b182–190(LMMRTTWAL), D3V-NS4b182–190 (LLMRTSWAL) and D4V-NS4b179–187(LLMRTTWAF)] also had a high affinity for HLA-A*0201 molecules. Furthermore, CD8+ T cells directed to these twelve peptides were induced in HLA-A*0201 transgenic mice following immunization with these peptides. Additionally, cross-reactivity within four peptides (D1V-NS4b183–191, D2V-NS4b182–190, D3V-NS4b182–190 and D4V-NS4b179–187) was observed.


Two novel serotype-specific HLA-A*0201-restricted CD8+ T-cell epitopes (NS4a140-148 and NS2a144–152) and one cross-reactive HLA-A*0201-restricted CD8+ T-cell epitopes which is similar to a previously identified epitope were identified in D1V-D4V. Combining prediction algorithms and HLA transgenic mice is an effective strategy to identify HLA-restricted epitopes. Serotype-specific epitopes would be used to determine the protective role of serotype-specific CD8+ T cells, while cross-reactive epitopes may provide assistance in exploring the role of serotype cross-reactive CD8+ T cells in the immunopathogenesis of DHF/DSS.

Dengue virus; CD8+ T-cell epitope; Immunogenicity