Hierarchic T-cell help to non-linked B-cell epitopes

N. H.C. Brons, A. Blaich, K. H. Wiesmüller, F. Schneider, G. Jung, C. P. Muller*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

    14 Citations (Scopus)


    The induction of antibodies against peptides requires the presence of a T helper cell epitope. In the absence of an added T-cell epitope only 10% of the mice, or less depending on the strain, gave an antibody response to a series of peptides of the measles virus (MV) fusion (F) protein. After co-immunization with a non-covalently coupled T-cell epitope more than 60% of the peptides became immunogenic. Considerable differences became apparent when BALB/c mice were immunized with peptides in the presence of different T-cell epitopes. An immunodominant T-cell epitope of the MV-F protein was more-efficient than a subdominant or a cryptic T-cell epitope in providing help to a non-linked B-cell epitope. There is both a ranking order of the amount of help which B-cell epitopes require and a ranking order for the help T-cell epitopes are able to provide. The capability of a T-cell epitope to provide help to a B-cell epitope correlated with its own immunogenicity, i.e. the intensity of the antibody response to the peptide representing the T-cell epitope. The data suggest that for each MHC class II allele there is an optimal T-cell epitope which can provide help to a maximal number of B-cell epitopes and that such a peptide can be identified by its ability to induce antibodies against itself. By using this strategy, the authors were able to induce antibodies which cross-reacted with the MV.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)478-484
    Number of pages7
    JournalScandinavian Journal of Immunology
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - 1996


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