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Journal of Virology


Upon immunization and restimulation with tumors induced by the endogenous AKR/Gross murine leukemia virus (MuLV), C57BL/6 mice generate vigorous H-2K(b)-restricted cytotoxic T-lymphocyte (CTL) responses to a determinant (KSPWFTTL) derived from the p15E transmembrane portion of the viral envelope glycoprotein. By contrast, the highly homologous determinant RSPWFTTL, expressed by tumor cells induced by Friend/Moloney/Rauscher (FMR) MuLV, is not immunogenic, even when presented to the immune system as vaccinia virus-encoded cytosolic or endoplasmic reticulum (ER)-targeted minigene products. Such minigene products are usually highly immunogenic since they bypass the need for cells to liberate the peptide or transport the peptide into the ER by the transporter associated with antigen processing (TAP). Using KSPWFTTL-specific CTLs that cross-react with RSPWFTTL, we previously demonstrated that presentation of RSPWFTTL from its natural viral gene product is TAP dependent. Here, we show first that C57BL/6 mice express mRNA encoding RSPWFTTL but not KSPWFTTL and second that the ER-targeted RSPWFTTL minigene product is highly immunogenic in C57BL/6 mice with a targeted deletion in TAP1. These findings provide the initial demonstration of TAP-dependent tolerance induction to a specific self peptide and demonstrate that this contributes to the differential recognition of RSPWFTTL and KSPWFTTL by C57BL/6 mice.