CTL constitute an essential part of the immune response against the HIV. CTL recognize peptides derived from viral proteins together with the MHC class I molecules on the surface of infected cells. The CTL response could be important in prevention or control of infection with HIV by destroying virus-producing cells. In this study we have attempted to identify peptide epitopes recognized by HIV-specific CTL. Using synthetic peptides, we have identified six conserved peptidic epitopes on the gp120 envelope glycoprotein recognized by polyclonal human CTL in association with HLA-A2 class I transplantation Ag. These results were confirmed by two approaches: i) blocking of CTL activities with antibodies specific for three of these conserved peptides; and ii) construction of doubly transfected P815-A2 target cells, using deletions of the HIV env gene. Vaccination or immunotherapy in HLA-A2 individuals can thus be considered using highly conserved HIV env peptidic sequences.

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