The optimization of helper T lymphocyte (HTL) function in vaccine development

Jeff Alexander, John Fikes, Stephen Hoffman, Eileen Franke, John Sacci, Ettore Appella, Francis V. Chisari, Luca G. Guidotti, Robert W. Chesnut, Brian Livingston, Alessandro Sette

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Helper T lymphocyte (HTL) responses play an important role in the induction of both humoral and cellular immune responses. Therefore, HTL epitopes are likely to be a crucial component of prophylactic and immunotherapeutic vaccines. For this reason, Pan DR helper T cell epitopes (PADRE), engineered to bind most common HLA-DR molecules with high affinity and act as powerful immunogens, were developed. Short linear peptide constructs comprising PADRE and Plasmodium-derived B cell epitopes induced antibody responses comparable to more complex multiple antigen peptides (MAP) constructs in mice. These antibody responses were composed mostly of the IgG subclass, reactive against intact sporozoites, inhibitory of schizont formation in liver invasion assays, and protective against sporozoite challenge in vivo. The PADRE HTL epitope has also been shown to augment the potency of vaccines designed to stimulate a cellular immune response. Using a HBV transgenic murine model, it was found thatCTL tolerance was broken by PADRE-CTL epitope lipopeptide, but not by a similar construct containing a conventional WTL epitope. There are a number of prophylactic vaccines that are of limited efficacy, require multiple boosts, and/or confer protection to only a fraction of the immunized population. Also, in the case of virally infected or cancerous cells, new immunotherapeutic vaccines that induce strong cellular immune responses are desirable. Therefore, optimization of HTL function by use of synthetic epitopes such as PADRE or pathogen-derived, broadly crossreactive epitopes holds promise for a new generation of highly efficacious vaccines.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)79-92
Number of pages14
JournalImmunologic Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1998


  • HBV
  • Malaria
  • PAN DR T cell helper epitiopes (PADRE)
  • Peptide-based vaccines

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology


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