Cats were immunized with a 46-residue multiepitopic synthetic peptide of feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) comprising immunodominant epitopes present in the third variable domain of the envelope glycoprotein, transmembrane glycoprotein (TM), and p24 Gag core protein, using Quil A as an adjuvant. All vaccinated cats developed a humoral response which recognized the synthetic peptide immunogen and the intact viral core and envelope proteins. A FIV Gag- and Env-specific effector cytotoxic T-lymphocyte response was also detected in the peripheral blood of vaccinated cats, which peaked at week 30. This response appeared to be major histocompatibility complex restricted. Epitope mapping studies revealed that both the cellular and humoral immune responses were directed principally to a peptide within the TM glycoprotein, CNQNQFFCK. However, vaccination did not confer protection when cats were challenged with the Petaluma isolate of FIV at week 35
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