A human leukocyte antigen A24-restricted CD8+ cytotoxic T-cell clone specific for gp41 of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 was isolated from an infected individual. The epitope was localized to amino acids 584 to 591 (YLKDQQLL, NL43 env sequence) of gp41 by using a panel of recombinant vaccinia viruses that contain truncated env genes and synthetic peptides. The clone killed autologous B-lymphoblastoid cell lines pulsed with a synthetic peptide reflecting the sequence of the IIIB and MN strains. This clone, however, failed to kill target cells pulsed with the peptides that have a mutation from Lys to Arg or Gln at amino acid 585 which is present in some prototype human immunodeficiency virus type 1 strains, e.g., ADA, JFL, SC, ALA1, BAL1, SF2, VRF, SF33, and WMJ2. This finding that a mutation at amino acid 585 on gp41 results in nonrecognition by human leukocyte antigen A24-restricted CD8+ cytotoxic T lymphocytes suggests that antigenic variation at T-cell epitopes contributes to the failure of immune control of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 infections
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