Purification and characterization of a naturally processed hepatitis B virus peptide recognized by CDS+ cytotoxic T lymphocytes

Sun Lung Tsai*, Ming Huei Chen, Chau Ting Yeh, Chia Ming Chu, Ae Ning Lin, Fu Horng Chiou, Tong Hsuan Chang, Yun Fan Liaw

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article peer-review

71 Scopus citations


In vitro studies in patients with hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection have suggested that hepatocytolysis induced by CD8+ cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) is the most important effector pathway in eliminating infected cells. The recognition is implicated in the endogenously processed HBV antigens in the context of HLA class I molecules presented on the liver cell membrane. However, the naturally occurring HBV peptide antigens have not yet been demonstrated. We report here that a naturally processed peptide antigen P2 was isolated from HLA class I molecules of HBV-infected liver cell membrane. The P2 peptide exhibited the activity of sensitizing target cells for lysis by CD8- CTLs. The P2 sequence (YVNVNMGLK) purified from liver tissue was in concordance with that encoded by the viral genome for the HBV nucleocapsid antigen or HBcAg 88-96. P2 peptide could also be isolated from the EBV-transformed B cells that were transfected by HBcAg-expressing vector. The P2 epitope, sharing the HLA-A11 binding motifs, was recognized by HLA-Al 11-restricted CD8+ CTLs. The data pro- vided direct evidence that, in hepatitis B patients, antigenic peptides of HBV were processed by hepatocytes, presented with the class I MHC molecules, and recognized by CD8+ CTLs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)577-584
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Clinical Investigation
Issue number2
StatePublished - 15 01 1996
Externally publishedYes


  • Hepatitis B virus
  • Hepatocytolysis
  • Mutation clustering region
  • Naturally occurring peptide
  • T cell epitope


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