Immunodominant CD8 T cell response to Epstein-Barr virus

Biomed Pharmacother. 2001 Sep;55(7):373-80. doi: 10.1016/s0753-3322(01)00082-8.


Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) provides one of the most informative systems for analysing cytotoxic T lymphocyte responses in humans. The viral infection and its persistence are the results of an alternation of lytic and latent phases that are controlled by the immune response. Using a transient COS transfection assay that permits semi-quantitative estimation of CD8 T cell responses against a large number of HLA/viral protein combinations, we analyzed responses to EBV within a large number of polyclonal T cell lines. This allowed a rapid identification of major epitopes and the demonstration that EBV-specificT cells were mainly directed against a restricted set of immunodominant epitopes, primarily generated during the early lytic cycle. Knowledge of the antigen specificity of CDB T cell responses against EBV should help generate cytotoxic T cell lines to this herpesvirus, and more generally to study the molecular basis of immunodominance.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Cytotoxicity, Immunologic
  • Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte / immunology*
  • Epstein-Barr Virus Infections / immunology*
  • Herpesvirus 4, Human / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Immunodominant Epitopes / immunology


  • Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte
  • Immunodominant Epitopes