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T-cell-epitope mapping of the major secreted mycobacterial antigen Ag85A in tuberculosis and leprosy.
Infection and Immunity
Lymphoproliferation and gamma interferon (IFN-gamma) secretion in response to 28 overlapping 20-mer synthetic peptides covering the complete sequence of the mature (295-amino-acid) 85A component of the major secreted, fibronectin-binding antigen 85 complex from Mycobacterium tuberculosis and Mycobacterium bovis BCG (MTAg85A) was examined by using peripheral blood mononuclear cell (PBMC) cultures from healthy tuberculin- and lepromin-positive volunteers and from patients with tuberculosis and leprosy. Peptide recognition was largely promiscuous, with a variety of human leukocyte antigen haplotypes reacting to the same peptides. PBMC from all tuberculin-positive subjects reacted to Ag85, and the majority proliferated in response to peptide 6 (amino acids 51 to 70), peptides 13, 14, and 15 (amino acids 121 to 160), or peptides 20 and 21 (amino acids 191 to 220). PBMC from tuberculosis patients demonstrated a variable reactivity to Ag85 and its peptides, and the strongest proliferation was observed against peptide 7 (amino acids 61 to 80). MTAg85A peptides were also recognized by PBMC from healthy lepromin-positive volunteers and paucibacillary leprosy patients (again in a promiscuous manner), but despite a 90% homology between the 85A proteins of M. leprae and M. tuberculosis, the peptides recognized were different. PBMC from lepromin-positive healthy contacts reacted against peptide 2 (amino acids 11 to 30), peptide 5 (amino acids 41 to 60), and peptides 25 and 26 (amino acids 241 to 270). PBMC from paucibacillary patients reacted preferentially against peptide 1 (amino acids 1 to 20) and peptide 5. Multibacillary patients were not reactive to Ag85 or the MT85A peptides. IFN-gamma production was generally detected simultaneously with positive lymphoproliferative responses, although peptide 1 mostly stimulated proliferation and peptides 27 and 28 mostly elicited an IFN-gamma response. In conclusion, regions 41 to 80 and 241 to 295 demonstrated powerful and promiscuous T-cell-stimulatory properties, resulting in proliferative responses and IFN-gamma secretion, respectively, in the majority of reactive subjects tested in this study. These results could be of value in the development of a subunit vaccine for tuberculosis and leprosy.
Amino Acid Sequence, Antigens, Bacterial/immunology, Epitopes, Humans, Interferon-gamma/biosynthesis, Interferon-gamma/secretion, Leprosy/immunology, Lymphocyte Activation, Molecular Sequence Data, Mycobacterium leprae/immunology, T-Lymphocytes/immunology, Tuberculosis/immunology
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