Inhibition of lymphocyte proliferation by a synthetic peptide homologous to retroviral envelope proteins

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Science  25 Oct 1985:
Vol. 230, Issue 4724, pp. 453-455
DOI: 10.1126/science.2996136


The retroviral transmembrane envelope protein p15E is immunosuppressive in that it inhibits immune responses of lymphocytes, monocytes, and macrophages. A region of p15E has been conserved among murine and feline retroviruses; a homologous region is also found in the transmembrane envelope proteins of the human retroviruses HTLV-I and HTLV-II and in a putative envelope protein encoded by an endogenous C-type human retroviral DNA. A peptide (CKS-17) was synthesized to correspond to this region of homology and was examined for its effects on lymphocyte proliferation. CKS-17 inhibited the proliferation of an interleukin-2-dependent murine cytotoxic T-cell line as well as alloantigen-stimulated proliferation of murine and human lymphocytes. Four other peptides, representing different regions of virus proteins, were inactive. These results suggest that the immunosuppressive portion of retroviral transmembrane envelope proteins may reside, at least in part, in a-conserved sequence represented by the CKS-17 peptide.

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