Immunodominance of cytotoxic T lymphocyte epitopes co-injected in vivo and modulation by interleukin-12

Eur J Immunol. 1996 Nov;26(11):2709-16. doi: 10.1002/eji.1830261124.


Immunodominance (ID) of T cell epitopes is a well-documented phenomenon that might have profound significance in the evolution of T cell responses to pathogens, tumors, autoantigens and vaccines. With the intention of developing vaccines composed of several cytotoxic T cell (CTL) epitopes, we injected mice with peptide mixtures containing two to five CTL epitopes and observed clear patterns of ID. In a first case, ID strictly correlated with the competitor activity of the individual peptides for H-2Kd, whereas in a second case, the absence of correlation between ID and competitor activity, binding affinity, half-life of the peptides in serum, induction of proliferation in vitro and the individual immunogenicity of the peptides, suggested to us that ID of co-injected CTL epitopes can be determined both at the peptide level (binding affinity to H-2Kd) and at the T cell level. This hypothesis is supported by our finding that interleukin-12 strongly modulates ID when it is not correlated with MHC binding.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adjuvants, Immunologic / pharmacology*
  • Animals
  • Binding, Competitive / immunology
  • Drug Synergism
  • Female
  • H-2 Antigens / genetics
  • H-2 Antigens / immunology
  • HIV Envelope Protein gp120 / immunology
  • HIV Envelope Protein gp120 / pharmacology
  • HIV-1 / immunology
  • Immunodominant Epitopes / administration & dosage
  • Immunodominant Epitopes / drug effects*
  • Immunodominant Epitopes / pharmacology*
  • Injections, Intraperitoneal
  • Interleukin-12 / administration & dosage
  • Interleukin-12 / immunology*
  • Interleukin-12 / pharmacology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Orthomyxoviridae / immunology
  • Protein Binding / immunology
  • T-Lymphocytes, Cytotoxic / immunology*
  • Viral Core Proteins / immunology


  • Adjuvants, Immunologic
  • H-2 Antigens
  • H-2K(K) antigen
  • HIV Envelope Protein gp120
  • Immunodominant Epitopes
  • Viral Core Proteins
  • Interleukin-12