T-Cell Epitopes of the Measles Virus (MV) NucleoProtein were studied by synthesizing overlapping 20 aa Peptides over the known sequence of the protein and analyzing the proliferation responses of a panel of MV-specific T-Cell lines and clones against these Peptides.
T-Cell lines were established from eleven healthy controls and seven Multiple Sclerosis patients, all with a history of past MV infection.
The Epitopes recognized by these lines were concentrated in a few regions of the PolyPeptide chain. Overlapping Peptides containing aa 321-340 and 331-350 were most often recognized.
Other Epitopes were detected close to the amino-terminal end of the PolyPeptide chain as each of the Peptides 1-20, 21-40, 31-50 and 51-70 contained stimulating moieties.
Some responses were also detected towards Peptides 151-200 and 221-250, but the carboxy-terminal end of the PolyPeptide was not recognized by any of the tested T-Cell lines.
The Amino Acid sequences of the Peptides that stimulated the T-Cell clones and lines, as a rule, contained binding motifs described for HLA-DR alleles found in T-Cell donors.
The regions of protein sequence which did not reveal any T-Cell Epitopes were, instead, relatively free of binding motifs.
The results suggest that only a few Epitopes of the MV NucleoProtein are important in establishing T-Cell Immunity.