Epitope shifting of gp90-specific cellular immune responses in EIAV-infected ponies

Chong Liu, Sheila J. Cook, Jodi K. Craigo, Frank R. Cook, Charles J. Issel, Ronald C. Montelaro, David W. Horohov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Unlike other lentiviruses, EIAV replication can be controlled in most infected horses leading to an inapparent carrier state free of overt clinical signs which lasts for many years. While the resolution of the initial infection is correlated with the appearance of virus specific cellular immune responses, the precise immune mechanisms responsible for control of the infection are not yet identified. Since the virus undergoes rapid mutation following infection, the immune response must also adapt to meet this challenge. We hypothesize that this adaptation involves peptide-specific recognition shifting from immunodominant variable determinants to conserved immunorecessive determinants following EIAV infection. Forty-four peptides, spanning the entire surface unit protein (gp90) of EIAV, were used to monitor peptide-specific T cell responses in vivo over a six-month period following infection. Peptides were injected intradermally and punch biopsies were collected for real-time PCR analysis to monitor the cellular peptide-specific immune responses in vivo. Similar to the CMI response to HIV infection, peptide-specific T cell recognition patterns changed over time. Early post infection (1 month), immune responses were directed to the peptides in the carboxyl-terminus variable region. By six months post infection, the peptide recognition spanned the entire gp90 sequence. These results indicate that peptide recognition broadens during EIAV infection.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)161-169
Number of pages9
JournalVeterinary Immunology and Immunopathology
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Oct 15 2014

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors wish to thank Seth Hatfield and farm staff for their technical support and care of all ponies. This work was supported by NIH R01 AI25850-23 and CTSA UL1RR033173 (NCRR).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014 Elsevier B.V.


  • Cellular immune responses
  • EIAV
  • Envelope
  • Immunodominant shifting
  • Lentivirus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Veterinary (all)


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