TY - JOUR T1 - Human CD4+ T Cell Epitopes from Vaccinia Virus Induced by Vaccination or Infection A1 - Calvo-Calle, J. Mauricio A1 - Strug, Iwona A1 - Nastke, Maria-Dorothea A1 - Baker, Stephen P A1 - Stern, Lawrence J Y1 - 2007/10/12 N2 -
Although the routine use of vaccinia virus for vaccination against smallpox was stopped after eradication of this disease, there is a possibility for an accidental or intentional release of this virus. In response to this challenge, vaccination of at least emergency personnel has been suggested. However, adverse reactions induced by the smallpox vaccine have had a negative impact in the success of this program. For these reasons development of new smallpox vaccines is a public health priority. Identification of strong helper T cell epitopes is central to these efforts. However, identification of T cell epitopes in large genomes like vaccinia is difficult using current screening methods. In this work, we develop a new computational approach for prediction of T cell epitopes, validate it using epitopes already identified by classical methods, and apply it to the prediction of vaccinia epitopes. Twenty-five of 36 peptides containing predicted sequences were recognized by T cells from individuals exposed to vaccinia virus. These peptides are highly conserved across the orthopox virus family and may be useful in development of a new generation of smallpox vaccines and in the analysis of the immune response against vaccinia virus.