The role of T cell antagonism and original antigenic sin in genetic immunization

Rana A.K. Singh, John R. Rodgers, Michael A. Barry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


To counter highly mutable pathogens like HIV-1, a number of vaccines are being developed to deliver multiple mutant forms of viral Ags to provoke multivalent antiviral CTLs. However, it is uncertain whether such multiple mutant epitope vaccines will generate the diverse CTL responses desired or will instead create immune interference. To characterize the role of immune interference by mutant epitopes in this process, we have tested a "worst case" scenario in which the immunodominant epitope of OVA (SIINFEKL) and its in vitro TCR antagonist (SIINFEDL) have been used to genetically immunize C57BL/6 mice. We demonstrate here that sequential delivery of these mutant epitopes provokes original antigenic sin in CD8 T cells as demonstrated by attenuation of CTLs, intracellular IFN-γ production, and MHC I peptide-tetramer staining. By contrast, simultaneous exposure of the immune system to this agonist/antagonist pair not only fails to generate T cell antagonism in vivo, but also avoids original antigenic sin. These observations suggest that simultaneous immunization with vaccines containing mutant epitopes, even T cell antagonists, can indeed generate a diverse array of T cell responses and that at least some immune interference can be avoided by delivering mutant Ags to the immune system simultaneously.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6779-6786
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 15 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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