Immunodominance of a Single CTL Epitope in a Primate Species with Limited MHC Class I Polymorphism

David T. Evans, Marian S. Piekarczyk, Todd M. Allen, Jonathan E. Boyson, Meredith Yeager, Austin L. Hughes, Frances M. Gotch, Virginia S. Hinshaw, David I. Watkins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

20 Scopus citations


MHC class I molecules play a crucial role in immunity to viral infections by presenting viral peptides to cytotoxic T lymphocytes. One of the hallmarks of MHC class I genes in outbred populations is their extraordinary polymorphism, yet the significance of this diversity is poorly understood. Certain species with reduced MHC class I diversity, such as the cotton-top tamarin (Saguinus oedipus), are more susceptible to fatal viral infections. To explore the relationship between this primate's limited MHC class I diversity and its susceptibility to viruses, we infected five cotton-top tamarins with influenza virus. Every tamarin recognized the same immunodominant CTL epitope of the influenza nucleoprotein. Surprisingly, this nucleoprotein peptide was bound by Saoe-C*08, an MHC class I molecule expressed by every cotton-top tamarin. Two tamarins also made a subdominant response to an epitope of the matrix (M1) protein. This peptide appeared to be bound by another common MHC class I molecule. With the exception of an additional subdominant response to the polymerase (PB2) protein in one individual, no other influenza-specific CTL responses were detected. In populations or species with limited MHC class I polymorphism like the cotton-top tamarin, a dependence on shared MHC class I molecules may enhance susceptibility to viral infection, since viruses that evade MHC class I-restricted recognition in one individual will likely evade recognition in the majority of individuals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1374-1382
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 1 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology

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    Evans, D. T., Piekarczyk, M. S., Allen, T. M., Boyson, J. E., Yeager, M., Hughes, A. L., Gotch, F. M., Hinshaw, V. S., & Watkins, D. I. (1997). Immunodominance of a Single CTL Epitope in a Primate Species with Limited MHC Class I Polymorphism. Journal of Immunology, 159(3), 1374-1382.