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CD8+ T cell responses to lytic EBV infection: late antigen specificities as subdominant components of the total response.

ABSTRACT: EBV elicits primary CD8(+) T cell responses that, by T cell cloning from infectious mononucleosis (IM) patients, appear skewed toward immediate early (IE) and some early (E) lytic cycle proteins, with late (L) proteins rarely targeted. However, L Ag-specific responses have been detected regularly in polyclonal T cell cultures from long-term virus carriers. To resolve this apparent difference between responses to primary and persistent infection, 13 long-term carriers were screened in ex vivo IFN-? ELISPOT assays using peptides spanning the two IE, six representative E, and seven representative L proteins. This revealed memory CD8 responses to 44 new lytic cycle epitopes that straddle all three protein classes but, in terms of both frequency and size, maintain the IE > E > L hierarchy of immunodominance. Having identified the HLA restriction of 10 (including 7 L) new epitopes using memory CD8(+) T cell clones, we looked in HLA-matched IM patients and found such reactivities but typically at low levels, explaining why they had gone undetected in the original IM clonal screens. Wherever tested, all CD8(+) T cell clones against these novel lytic cycle epitopes recognized lytically infected cells naturally expressing their target Ag. Surprisingly, however, clones against the most frequently recognized L Ag, the BNRF1 tegument protein, also recognized latently infected, growth-transformed cells. We infer that BNRF1 is also a latent Ag that could be targeted in T cell therapy of EBV-driven B-lymphoproliferative disease.

PROVIDER: S-EPMC5580796 | BioStudies |

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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