Human immunodeficiency virus reverse transcriptase T helper epitopes identified in mice and humans: correlation with a cytotoxic T cell epitope

J Infect Dis. 1991 Dec;164(6):1058-65. doi: 10.1093/infdis/164.6.1058.


T cell immunity may be critical to development of a vaccine for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV-1). T helper epitopes were identified in three predominantly conserved regions in the HIV-1 reverse transcriptase by using reverse transcriptase-immunized mice of five major histocompatibility complex haplotypes. One peptide (residues 38-52) that stimulated H-2k T cells also contained an epitope recognized by cytotoxic T cells from the same mice and from HIV-infected patients. Such concordance between helper and cytotoxic T lymphocyte epitopes, observed in four cases, may be important in vaccine development. Peptide 36-52 was recognized by interleukin-2-producing peripheral blood T cells from 9 of 17 HIV-seropositive humans studied, of multiple human leukocyte antigen-DR and -DQ types. The broad recognition of this peptide by both helper and cytotoxic T cells substantiates its potential importance in a vaccine.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Immunologic
  • Epitopes / chemistry
  • Epitopes / immunology*
  • Genes, pol
  • HIV Antigens / chemistry
  • HIV Antigens / immunology
  • HIV Reverse Transcriptase
  • HIV Seropositivity / immunology
  • HIV-1 / enzymology
  • HIV-1 / immunology*
  • HLA-DQ Antigens
  • HLA-DR Antigens
  • Haplotypes
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-2 / biosynthesis
  • Lymphocyte Activation
  • Major Histocompatibility Complex
  • Mice
  • Middle Aged
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • RNA-Directed DNA Polymerase / chemistry
  • RNA-Directed DNA Polymerase / immunology*
  • T-Lymphocytes, Cytotoxic / immunology*
  • T-Lymphocytes, Helper-Inducer / immunology*


  • Epitopes
  • HIV Antigens
  • HLA-DQ Antigens
  • HLA-DR Antigens
  • Interleukin-2
  • HIV Reverse Transcriptase
  • RNA-Directed DNA Polymerase