The use of cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL)-inducing vaccines could afford both homo- and heterosubtypic immunity. However, amino acid variation in CTL epitopes associated with escape from CTL-mediated immunity might undermine the use of these vaccines. To assess the impact of amino acid substitutions in highly conserved epitopes on viral fitness and recognition by specific CTL, we performed a mutational analysis of various CTL epitopes. Our findings indicated that fitness costs limited variation in functionally constrained epitopes, especially at anchor residues.

Anchor residues, CTL epitopes, Cytotoxic T lymphocytes, Escape, Influenza A virus,
Department of Virology

Berkhoff, E.G.M, de Wit, E, Geelhoed-Mieras, M.M, Boon, A.C.M, Symons, J, Fouchier, R.A.M, … Rimmelzwaan, G.F. (2006). Fitness costs limit escape from cytotoxic T lymphocytes by influenza A viruses. Vaccine, 24(44-46), 6594–6596. doi:10.1016/j.vaccine.2006.05.051