To fully define HLA-A11- restricted HIV-1- specific cytotoxic T-lymphocyte epitopes in China, a method combining the enzyme-linked immunospot (ELISPOT) assay with intracellular gamma interferon staining (ICS) of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) was used to map the optimal epitopes targeted by ELISPOT and then to define the HLA restriction of epitopes by ICS. A novel HLA-A11-restricted CTL epitope and five other published HLA-A11-restricted epitopes previously identified by reverse immunogenetics or other methods were defined. The approach of integrating ELISPOT with ICS is both convenient and useful for the characterization of CTL responses to HIV-1 infection; this method is practical for defining novel epitopes and facilitates in developing new strategies for future vaccine design in China and other Asian countries.
Keywords: HIV, cytotoxic T-lymphocyte, epitopes, enzyme-linked immunospot (ELISPOT) assay, intracellular gamma interferon staining (ICS)
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