Canine parvovirus (CPV)-specific T cell clones were generated by culturing lymph node cells from CPV-immunized BALB/c mice at limiting dilutions in the presence of CPV antigen and interleukin-2 (IL-2). All isolated T cell clones exhibited the cell surface phenotype Thy1, CD4, CD8 and proliferated specifically in response to CPV antigen. After stimulation with CPV antigen in culture the T cell clones produced IL-2 and proliferated in the absence of exogenous IL-2. Naive mice to which CPV-specific T cell clones had been adoptively transferred developed a CPV-specific delayed type hypersensitivity reaction upon simultaneous intracutaneous injection of CPV in their ears. The ability of recombinant viral fusion proteins, representing the VP capsid protein of the antigenically closely related feline panleukopenia virus and of synthetic peptides derived from the amino acid sequence of the VP of CPV, to stimulate these T cell clones enabled the identification of T cell epitopes.


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