Identification of hepatitis B virus-specific CTL epitopes presented by HLA-A∗ 33:03 in peripheral blood mononuclear cells from patients and transgenic mice. Cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) epitopes in the HBV protein of hepatitis B virus (HBV) may play a key role in viral control and liver damage. The aim of this study was to identify and study the function of HLA-A∗33:03-restricted CTL epitopes in HBV protein of the HBV genotypes B and C, which are epidemic in China. Sixteen HBV peptides were predicated by computational analysis, and synthesized peptides were examined for their affinity to HLA-A∗33:03 using a stable cell line. After being analyzed by enzyme-linked immunospot and cytolytic activity assays, as well as the tetramers staining method using peripheral blood mononuclear cells isolated from HBV-infected patients, five peptides (Hbs245-253, HBs335-343, HBc119-127, HBc104-112, and HBp391-399) were chosen to further confirm their HLA_A∗33:03 restriction in transgenic mice.
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