Priming with T helper cell epitope peptides enhances the antibody response to the envelope glycoprotein of HIV-1 in primates

A. Hosmalin, P. L. Nara, M. Zweig, N. W. Lerche, K. B. Cease, E. A. Gard, P. D. Markham, S. D. Putney, M. D. Daniel, R. C. Desrosiers, J. A. Berzofsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


The induction of a memory immune response to HIV, mediated by any kind of effector mechanism, requires the induction of T cell help. In previous studies performed in different murine MHC haplotypes, three immunodominant T cell epitopes (T1, T2, and TH4.1) had been identified in the HIV envelope glycoprotein. Moreover, these peptides were proliferative T cell epitopes in humans. In this study, rhesus monkeys, Macaca mulatta, were primed with these three peptides either in combination or given separately. Half of the monkeys had a proliferative response to one or more of the priming peptide(s). Those monkeys who had a T cell proliferative response also had a high antibody response after one boost with a suboptimal dose of the native protein gp 160, whereas three of four control monkeys who had received only the native protein immunization gave no detectable antibody response, and one displayed a very weak response. For reasons that are unclear, antibodies only to the gp41 portion of gp 160 could be detected in the sera. Thus, the peptides can prime Th cells in primates for an enhanced antibody response on first exposure to the whole protein. The three peptides belong to highly conserved and nonglycosylated regions of the envelope protein. The fact that the peptides acted as immunogenic T cell proliferative and helper epitopes in nonhuman primates is very encouraging for including them in future vaccine studies in humans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1667-1673
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jan 1 1991
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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