Human T cell responses to peptide epitopes of the 16-kD antigen in tuberculosis

G. Friscia, H. M. Vordermeier, G. Pasvol, D. P. Harris, C. Moreno, J. Ivanyi*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The 16-kD protein constituent of the Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex has been known mainly for its prominent serological immunogenicity and species specificity in tuberculous infection. In this study, we evaluated the T cell immune repertoire in 27 sensitized healthy subjects and 46 patients with active tuberculosis using 14 overlapping 20mer peptides spanning the entire sequence of this protein. Four of the tested peptides individually stimulated proliferation of blood mononuclear cells from more than 50% of healthy controls. Tuberculosis patients reacted to a narrower peptide range and with a 17-27% lower rate of responses to the four most immunogenic peptides, but these differences do not distinguish in any simple way between the T cell repertoire of patients and sensitized healthy subjects. The most immunogenic peptide (91-110) was recognized by 67% of healthy subjects and by 50% of tuberculosis patients. Importantly, several non-responders to this peptide were stimulated with the other three most permissive peptides with sequences of 111-130, 71-91 and 21-40, resulting in an overall response rate to at least one of these four peptides of 93% in healthy controls and 74% in tuberculosis patients. In view of this additive effect between the most immunogenic peptides, their combined use may achieve sufficient sensitivity in a test aimed at the specific discrimination between infected and non-infected healthy subjects. The major interest in testing with these peptides rests in their species specificity, which is not achieved using purified protein derivative (PPD).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)53-57
Number of pages5
JournalClinical and Experimental Immunology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 01 Oct 1995


  • Human T cell repertoire
  • Immunodiagnosis
  • Peptides
  • Tuberculosis
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Molecular Weight
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis/immunology
  • T-Lymphocytes/immunology
  • Humans
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Epitopes
  • Peptide Fragments/immunology
  • Antigens, Bacterial/immunology


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