An immunodominant Epstein—Barr virus (EBV)-specific cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) epitope, represented by peptide 68, has been mapped to the EBV nuclear antigen, EBNA 3. The epitope is recognized by class I-restricted CTLs through HLA-B8 and is functionally active on type A but not type B lymphoblastoid cell lines (LCLs). Herein we show that peptide 68 is not expressed as a functional CTL epitope by type A LCLs infected with an EBV B95-8 isolate. CTLs from cultures stimulated with autologous type A IARC-BL74 or QIMR-WIL LCLs lysed autologous cells stimulated with phytohaemagglutinin (PHA blasts) and coated with exogenous peptide 68. No peptide 68-specific CTLs were generated in cultures stimulated with autologous type A B95-8 or type B AG876 LCLs. However, the B95-8 LCL coated with peptide 68 was effective in the induction of a peptide-specific CTL response. A peptide 68-specific CTL clone failed to lyse the B95-8 LCL, type B AG876 LCL and PHA blasts, although such targets were lysed when coated with peptide 68.


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