The immunogenicity of chimeric peptides produced by collinear synthesis to contain both T and B cell epitopes from the fusion protein and the haemagglutinin of measles virus was studied in mice. The T cell epitope used was from the fusion protein (residues 288 to 302), which has been shown to be promiscuous in its binding to mouse major histocompatibility complex molecules. This epitope was coupled by (i) a glycine-glycine spacer to a B cell epitope from the fusion protein (residues 404 to 414) and (ii) either its amino or carboxy terminus to a neutralizing antibody epitope from the haemagglutinin (residues 188 to 199). The results obtained show that such chimeric peptides can indeed function as complete immunogens in a range of mouse strains of different H-2 haplotype, and can induce the production of antibodies which bind to the fusion protein and to measles virus. Furthermore, it was shown that the orientation of the T cell epitope with respect to the B cell epitope had a significant effect upon the immunogenicity and antigenic specificity of the chimera. This work gives further support to the concept of rationally designed synthetic peptide vaccines.


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