The cytotoxic T cell (CTL) response in C57/B16 (H-2b) mice to rotavirus has been analysed using a cognate set of vaccinia virus recombinants covering the 12 primary gene products of the UKtc strain of bovine rotavirus. The gene products of RNA segments 5 (VP5/NSP-1) and 8 (VP7) both elicited a classic CD8+ Class I MHC restricted CTL response. Using L cells transfected with specific Class I MHC loci as targets the VP5/NSP-1 response was found to be restricted at Db and the VP7 response at Kb. Vaccinia virus recombinants expressing VP7 genes from seven G serotypes were used to show that the CTL response to this antigen is completely cross-reactive. By contrast, using the same strategy the CTL response to VP5/NSP-1 was found to be virus strain specific. A vaccinia virus recombinant carrying RNA segment 5 from the deletion mutant P9D delta 5 was used to localize at least one CTL epitope in VP5/ NSP-1 to the first 150 amino acids of the protein. The expression of a number of fragments of VP7 in vaccinia virus recombinants was used to show that the CTL epitope (amino acids 31-40) previously identified through the use of synthetic peptides is virus serotype specific rather than cross-reactive.


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