We have tested the ability of the c13 protein, which is a hybrid protein of the first 81 amino acids of the viral nonstructural protein (NS1) and the HA2 subunit of viral hemagglutination produced in E. coli, to render target cells susceptible to the lytic activity of influenza virus-specific cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL). The results showed that P815 cells coated with c13 protein were lysed by PR8 virus-induced secondary CTL derived from BALB/c mice. Cold-target inhibition tests clearly demonstrated that c13 protein-coated P815 cells were recognized by an H1 subtype-specific CTL population. Furthermore, PR8 virus-induced CTL derived from C3H mice did not lyse c13 protein-coated P815 cells, suggesting that c13 protein was recognized by CTL in conjunction with H-2d products. These findings suggest that this protein interacts with the cellular plasma membrane and makes target cells recognizable by H-2-restricted, influenza virus subtype-specific CTL.

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