Mapping T-cell epitopes of the rubella virus structural proteins

Amy Elizabeth Lovett, The University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Houston


Rubella virus (RV) typically causes a mild childhood illness, but complications can result from both viral and immune-mediated pathogenesis. RV can persist in the presence of neutralizing antibodies, suggesting that cell-mediated immune responses may be necessary for viral clearance. However, the molecular determinants recognized by RV-specific T-cells have not been identified. Using recombinant proteins which express the entire RV structural open reading frame in proliferation assays with lymphocytes of RV-immune individuals, domains which elicit major histocompatibility complex class II-restricted helper T-cells were identified. Synthetic peptides representing these domains were used to define specific epitopes. Two immunodominant domains were mapped to the capsid protein sequence C$\sb1$-C$\sb{29}$ and the E1 glycoprotein sequence E1$\sb{202}$-E1$\sb{283}.$ RV-specific MHC class I-restricted cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) were identified using a chromium-release assay with infected fibroblasts as target cells. An infectious Sindbis virus vector expressing each of the RV structural proteins identified the capsid, E2 and E1 proteins as targets of CTLs. Specific CTL epitopes were mapped within the previously identified immunodominant domains. This study identified domains of the RV structural proteins that may be beneficial for development of a synthetic vaccine, and provides normative data on RV-specific T-cell responses that should enhance our ability to understand RV persistence and associated complications.

Subject Area


Recommended Citation

Lovett, Amy Elizabeth, "Mapping T-cell epitopes of the rubella virus structural proteins" (1993). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI9324937.