This peptide represents part of the capsid protein, which forms the shell, of adeno-associated virus 8 (AAV8). This peptide has high major histocompatibility (MHC) affinity, and the MHC restriction has been identified as a H-2 Dd binder. This epitope can therefore simulate CD8+ T cells and can elicit a robust response from interferon gamma (IFN-γ), a cytokine critical for innate and adaptive immunity against viral, and some bacterial and protozoal infections.
CD8+ T cells (often called cytotoxic T lymphocytes, or CTLs) are generated in the thymus and express the dimeric co-receptor, CD8, on their surface. CD8+ T cells can recognise peptides presented by MHC class I molecules, which are found on all nucleated cells. CD8+ T cells are important for defence against intracellular pathogens, including viruses and bacteria, and for tumour surveillance, however, they can also contribute to excessive immune responses that leads to immune-mediated damage.
AAV8 is a non-disease causing virus that can infect humans and can integrate into the host cell genome. Gene therapy vectors have been created using AAV8 which can persist in an extrachromosomal state without integrating into the genome of the host cell and show promise in recent human clinical trials