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The influenza A virus hemagglutinin (HA) is an integral membrane glycoprotein expressed in large quantities on infected cell surfaces and is known to serve as a target antigen for influenza virus-specific cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL). Despite the fact that HAs derived from different influenza A virus subtypes are serologically non-cross-reactive, the HA has been implicated by previous experiments to be a target antigen for the subset of T cells capable of lysing cells infected with any human influenza A subtype (cross-reactive CTL). To directly determine whether the HA is recognized by cross-reactive CTL, we used vaccinia virus recombinants containing DNA copies of the PR8 (A/Puerto Rico/8/34) (H1N1) or JAP (A/JAP/305) (H2N2) HA genes. When these viruses were used to stimulate HA-specific CTL and to sensitize target cells for lysis by HA-specific CTL, we found no evidence for HA recognition by cross-reactive CTL aside from a relatively small degree of cross-reactivity between H1 and H2 HAs. Results of unlabeled target inhibition studies were consistent with the conclusion that the HA is, at most, only a minor target antigen for cross-reactive CTL.

Original publication




Journal article


Journal of Virology


American Society for Microbiology

Publication Date





786 - 791