Fifteen T-cell clones were derived from BALB/c or DBA/2 mice immunized with a synthetic peptide corresponding to the C-terminal 24 residues (residues 305 to 328) of the HA1 chain of H3 subtype influenza virus hemagglutinin.
All of the clones proliferated when the peptide was presented in association with I-Ed.
By using shorter homologs, it was shown that the T-cell response was focused predominantly on the region at the N-terminal end of the peptide encompassed by residues 306 to 319.
Individual clones recognizing this region differed in their absolute requirements for residues at the extremities of the site and also in their patterns of efficiency of recognition of shorter homologs.
One particular clone defined another site of T-cell recognition within residues 314 to 328.
The response of the clones to peptide analogs identified certain residues within the sites that were critical for recognition, with the substitution Gln-311—-Ser having a differential effect on clones responding to the N-terminal site.
Only one of the clones responded well to influenza virus itself. This clone also required relatively low concentrations of the parent peptide for optimum stimulation and was suppressed by higher concentrations.
The data demonstrate striking heterogeneity in the T-cell response even to a short synthetic peptide, with different T-cell clones recognizing slightly different but overlapping areas of the molecule.