The epitopes recognized by six CD4+ CD8- cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) clones established from a dengue-3 virus-immune donor were defined. (i) Three CTL clones, JK10, JK34 and JK39, were cross-reactive for dengue virus types 1-4. (ii) One clone, JK28, was cross-reactive for dengue virus types 1-4 and West Nile virus. (iii) Two clones, JK26 and JK49, were cross-reactive for dengue virus types 1-4, West Nile virus and yellow fever virus. The clones, except for JK49, recognized the same epitope on NS3 in an HLA-DPw2-restricted fashion. The smallest synthetic peptide recognized by the five CTL clones was a 10 aa peptide which comprises aa 255-264 on dengue virus NS3. JK49 recognized the overlapping epitope which comprises aa 257-266 in an HLA-DPw2-restricted fashion. Analysis of T cell receptor (TCR) usage by these T cell clones revealed that (i) JK10 and JK34 use V alpha11, and JK34 and JK28 use V beta23, and (ii) the amino acid sequences of the V(D)J junctional region of the TCR were different among these five CTL clones. There were, however, single amino acid conservations among TCRs of some of these T cell clones. These results indicate that the region on NS3 which comprises aa 255-266 contains multiple epitopes recognized by dengue serotype-cross-reactive and flavivirus-cross-reactive CD4+ CTL in an HLA-DPw2-restricted fashion and that a single epitope can be recognized by T cells which have heterogeneous virus specificities.


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