Immunodominant cytomegalovirus-specific CD8+ T-cell responses in sub-Saharan African populations.
ABSTRACT: More than 90% of children in Africa are infected with cytomegalovirus (CMV) by the age of 12 months. However, the high-frequency, immunodominant CD8+ T-cell responses that control CMV infection have not been well studied in African populations. We therefore sought to define the immunodominant CMV-specific CD8+ T-cell responses within sub-Saharan African study subjects. Among 257 subjects, we determined the CD8+ T-cell responses to overlapping peptides spanning three of the most immunogenic CMV proteins, pp65, IE-1 and IE-2, using IFN-? ELISpot assays. A bioinformatics tool was used to predict optimal epitopes within overlapping peptides whose recognition was statistically associated with expression of particular HLA class I molecules. Using this approach, we identified 16 predicted novel CMV-specific epitopes within CMV-pp65, IE-1 and IE-2. The immunodominant pp65-specific, IE-1, IE-2 responses were all either previously well characterised or were confirmed using peptide-MHC tetramers. The novel epitopes identified included an IE-2-specific epitope restricted by HLA*B*44:03 that induced high-frequency CD8+ T-cell responses (mean 3.4% of CD8+ T-cells) in 95% of HLA-B*44:03-positive subjects tested, in one individual accounting for 18.8% of all CD8+ T-cells. These predicted novel CMV-specific CD8+ T-cell epitopes identified in an African cohort will facilitate future analyses of immune responses in African populations where CMV infection is almost universal during infancy.
Project description:Studies of T-cell immunity to human cytomegalovirus (CMV) primarily reflect anti-CMV pp65 or immediate early antigen 1 (IE-1) activity. We assessed responses of T cells from human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-negative and HIV-infected men to peptide pools spanning 19 CMV open reading frames selected because they previously correlated with total CMV-specific T-cell responses in healthy donors. Cells producing cytokines in response to pp65 or IE-1 together composed <12% and <40% of the total CD4(+) and CD8(+) T-cell responses to CMV, respectively. These proportions were generally similar regardless of HIV serostatus. Thus, analyses of total CMV-specific T-cell responses should extend beyond pp65 and IE-1 regardless of HIV serostatus.
Project description:It has been reported that cytomegalovirus (CMV) pp65-specific T cells can protect hematopoietic cell transplant (HCT) recipients from CMV complications. Two candidate CMV peptide vaccines composed of the HLA A*0201 pp65(495-503) cytotoxic CD8(+) T-cell epitope fused to 2 different universal T-helper epitopes (either the synthetic Pan DR epitope [PADRE] or a natural Tetanus sequence) were clinically evaluated for safety and ability to elicit pp65 T cells in HLA A*0201 healthy volunteers.Escalating doses (0.5, 2.5, 10 mg) of PADRE or Tetanus pp65(495-503) vaccines with (30 adults) or without (28 adults) PF03512676 adjuvant were administered by subcutaneous injection every 3 weeks for a total of 4 injections.No serious adverse events were reported, although vaccines used in combination with PF03512676 had enhanced reactogenicity. Ex vivo responses were detected by flow cytometry exclusively in volunteers who received the vaccine coadministered with PF03512676. In addition, using a sensitive in vitro stimulation system, vaccine-elicited pp65(495-503) T cells were expanded in 30% of volunteers injected solely with the CMV peptides and in all tested subjects receiving the vaccines coinjected with PF03512676.Acceptable safety profiles and vaccine-driven expansion of pp65(495-503) T cells in healthy adults support further evaluation of CMV peptide vaccines combined with PF03512676 in the HCT setting.NCT00722839.
Project description:Cell-mediated immunity plays an essential role in the control of infection with the human cytomegalovirus (HCMV). However, only a few CD8(+)-T-cell epitopes are known, with the majority being contained in the pp65 phosphoprotein, which is believed to dominate the CD8(+)-T-cell response to HCMV. Here, we have readdressed the issue of CD8(+) T cells specific for the 72-kDa major immediate-early protein (IE-1), which is nonstructural but is found very early and throughout the replicative cycle. Using a novel flow-cytometric assay, we were able to identify CD8(+)-T-cell epitopes (by IE-1 peptide-specific induction of cytokine synthesis) and simultaneously measure the frequency of cells directed against them. For this purpose, 81 pentadecamer peptides covering the complete 491-amino-acid sequence of IE-1 were tested on peripheral blood mononuclear cells of anti-HCMV immunoglobulin G-seropositive donors. At least 10 new epitopes were identified, and the fine specificity and presenting HLA molecule of the first of them was determined. The frequencies of CD8(+) T cells directed against IE-1 were similar to those directed against pp65 in donors tested with known pp65-derived peptides. Importantly, additional testing of a corresponding set of peptides covering the complete sequence of pp65 on 10 of these donors identified individuals whose CD8(+) T cells recognized IE-1 but not pp65 and vice versa, clearly illustrating that either protein may be a major target. In summary, our results suggest that IE-1 is far more important as a CD8(+)-T-cell target than current opinion suggests.
Project description:To define whether individual human leukocyte antigen (HLA) class I allotypes are used preferentially in human cytomegalovirus (CMV)-specific cytotoxic T lymphocyte responses, CD8+ T cell responses restricted by up to six HLA class I allotypes in an individual were measured in parallel using K562-based artificial antigen-presenting cells expressing both CMV pp65 antigen and one of 32 HLA class I allotypes (7 HLA-A, 14 HLA-B, and 11 HLA-C) present in 50 healthy Korean donors. The CD8+ T cell responses to pp65 in the HLA-C allotypes were lower than responses to those in HLA-A and -B allotypes and there was no difference between the HLA-A and HLA-B loci. HLA-A*02:01, -B*07:02, and -C*08:01 showed the highest magnitude and frequency of immune responses to pp65 at each HLA class I locus. However, HLA-A*02:07, -B*59:01, -B*58:01, -B*15:11, -C*03:02, and -C*02:02 did not show any immune responses. Although each individual has up to six different HLA allotypes, 46% of the donors showed one allotype, 24% showed two allotypes, and 2% showed three allotypes that responded to pp65. Interestingly, the frequencies of HLA-A alleles were significantly correlated with the positivity of specific allotypes. Our results demonstrate that specific HLA class I allotypes are preferentially used in the CD8+ T cell immune response to pp65 and that a hierarchy among HLA class I allotypes is present in an individual.
Project description:Decreased cytomegalovirus (CMV)-specific immunity after hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) is associated with late CMV reactivation and increased mortality. Whether letermovir prophylaxis-associated reduction in viral exposure influences CMV-specific immune reconstitution is unknown. In a prospective cohort of allogeneic HCT recipients who received letermovir, we compared polyfunctional CMV-specific T-cell responses to those of controls who received PCR-guided preemptive therapy before the introduction of letermovir. Thirteen-color flow cytometry was used to assess T-cell responses at 3 months after HCT following stimulation with CMV immediate early-1 (IE-1) antigen and phosphoprotein 65 (pp65) antigens. Polyfunctionality was characterized by combinatorial polyfunctionality analysis of antigen-specific T-cell subsets. Use of letermovir and reduction of viral exposure were assessed for their association with CMV-specific T-cell immunity. Polyfunctional T-cell responses to IE-1 and pp65 were decreased in letermovir recipients and remained diminished after adjustment for donor CMV serostatus, absolute lymphocyte count, and steroid use. Among letermovir recipients, greater peak CMV DNAemia and increased viral shedding were associated with stronger CD8+ responses to pp65, whereas the CMV shedding rate was associated with greater CD4+ responses to IE-1. In summary, our study provided initial evidence that letermovir may delay CMV-specific cellular reconstitution, possibly related to decreased CMV antigen exposure. Evaluating T-cell polyfunctionality may identify patients at risk for late CMV infection after HCT.
Project description:Persistent cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection has been suggested to be a major driving force in the immune deterioration and an underlying source of age-related diseases in the elderly. CMV antibody titers are associated with lower responses to vaccination, cardiovascular diseases, frailty, and mortality. CMV infection is also associated with shorter T-cell telomeres and replicative senescence. Although an age-related deregulation of CMV-specific T-cell responses could be an underlying cause of the relationship between CMV and immune defects, strong and polyfunctional responses are observed in elderly individuals, casting uncertainty on their direct role in age-related immune frailty. In this study, we longitudinally followed a cohort of healthy donors aged over 50 years, assessing their mortality rates and time to death during a 2-year period. Specific T-cell responses to the immunodominant antigen pp65 (IFN?, TNF?, IL2, MIP1?, CD107a, and perforin production) were analyzed at the beginning of the 2-year observation period. A cytotoxic CD8 pp65-specific T-cell response, without cytokine or chemokine coexpression, was independently associated with all-cause mortality in these elderly individuals. This pp65-specific CD8 T-cell response could be a useful tool to identify individuals with depressed immune function and a higher risk of death.
Project description:Lack of disease during chronic human cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection depends on the maintenance of a high-frequency CMV-specific T cell response. The composition of the T cell receptor (TCR) repertoire underlying this response remains poorly characterised, especially within African populations in which CMV is endemic from infancy. Here we focus on the immunodominant CD8+ T cell response to the immediate-early 2 (IE-2)-derived epitope NEGVKAAW (NW8) restricted by HLA-B<sup>*</sup>44:03, a highly prevalent response in African populations, which in some subjects represents >10% of the circulating CD8+ T cells. Using pMHC multimer staining and sorting of NW8-specific T cells, the TCR repertoire raised against NW8 was characterised here using high-throughput sequencing in 20 HLA-B<sup>*</sup>44:03 subjects. We found that the CD8+ T cell repertoire raised in response to NW8 was highly skewed and featured preferential use of a restricted set of V and J gene segments. Furthermore, as often seen in immunity against ancient viruses like CMV and Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), the response was strongly dominated by identical TCR sequences shared by multiple individuals, or "public" TCRs. Finally, we describe a pair "superdominant" TCR clonotypes, which were germline or nearly germline-encoded and produced at remarkably high frequencies in certain individuals, with a single CMV-specific clonotype representing up to 17% of all CD8+ T cells. Given the magnitude of the NW8 response, we propose that this major skewing of CMV-specific immunity leads to massive perturbations in the overall TCR repertoire in HLA-B<sup>*</sup>44:03 individuals.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Autophagy regulates innate and adaptive immune responses to pathogens and tumors. We have reported that autophagosomes derived from tumor cells after proteasome inhibition, DRibbles (Defective ribosomal products in blebs), were excellent sources of antigens for efficient cross priming of tumor-specific CD8? T cells, which mediated regression of established tumors in mice. But the activity of DRibbles in human has not been reported.<h4>Methods</h4>DRibbles or cell lysates derived from HEK293T or UbiLT3 cell lines expressing cytomegalovirus (CMV) pp65 protein or transfected with a plasmid encoding dominant HLA-A2 restricted CMV, Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), and Influenza (Flu) epitopes (CEF) were loaded onto human monocytes or PBMCs and the response of human CMV pp65 or CEF antigen-specific CD4? and CD8? memory T cells was detected by intracellular staining. The effect of cytokines (GM-CSF, IL-4, IL-12, TNF-?, IFN-? and IFN-?) TLR agonists (Lipopolysaccharide, Polyinosinic-polycytidylic acid (poly(I:C), M52-CpG, R848, TLR2 ligand) and CD40 ligand on the cross-presentation of antigens contained in DRibbles or cell lysates was explored.<h4>Results</h4>In this study we showed that purified monocytes, or human PBMCs, loaded with DRibbles isolated from cells expressing CMV or CEF epitopes, could activate CMV- or CEF-specific memory T cells. DRibbles were significantly more efficient at stimulating CD8? memory T cells compared to cell lysates expressing the same antigenic epitopes. We optimized the conditions for T-cell activation and IFN-? production following direct loading of DRibbles onto PBMCs. We found that the addition of Poly(I:C), CD40 ligand, and GM-CSF to the PBMCs together with DRibbles significantly increased the level of CD8? T cell responses.<h4>Conclusions</h4>DRibbles containing specific viral antigens are an efficient ex vivo activator of human antigen-specific memory T cells specific for those antigens. This function could be enhanced by combining with Poly(I:C), CD40 ligand, and GM-CSF. This study provides proof-of-concept for applying this strategy to activate memory T cells against other antigens, including tumor-specific T cells ex vivo for immunological monitoring and adoptive immunotherapy, and in vivo as vaccines for patients with cancer.
Project description:BACKGROUND AIMS:The human leukemia cell line K562 represents an attractive platform for creating artificial antigen-presenting cells (aAPC). It is readily expandable, does not express human leukocyte antigen (HLA) class I and II and can be stably transduced with various genes. METHODS:In order to generate cytomegalovirus (CMV) antigen-specific T cells for adoptive immunotherapy, we transduced K562 with HLA-A?0201 in combination with co-stimulatory molecules. RESULTS:In preliminary experiments, irradiated K562 expressing HLA-A?0201 and 4-1BBL pulsed with CMV pp65 and IE-1 peptide libraries failed to elicit antigen-specific CD8? T cells in HLA-A?0201? peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) or isolated T cells. Both wild-type K562 and aAPC strongly inhibited T cell proliferation to the bacterial superantigen staphylococcal enterotoxin B (SEB) and OKT3 and in mixed lymphocyte reaction (MLR). Transwell experiments suggested that suppression was mediated by a soluble factor; however, MLR inhibition was not reversed using transforming growth factor-? blocking antibody or prostaglandin E2 inhibitors. Full abrogation of the suppressive activity of K562 on MLR, SEB and OKT3 stimulation was only achieved by brief fixation with 0.1% formaldehyde. Fixed, pp65 and IE-1 peptide-loaded aAPC induced robust expansion of CMV-specific T cells. CONCLUSIONS:Fixed gene-modified K562 can serve as effective aAPC to expand CMV-specific cytotoxic T lymphocytes for therapeutic use in patients after stem cell transplantation. Our findings have implications for broader understanding of the immune evasion mechanisms used by leukemia and other tumors.
Project description:Large cytomegalovirus (CMV)-specific CD8 T-cell responses are observed in both young and, somewhat more often, old people. Frequent CMV reactivation is thought to exhaust these cells and render them dysfunctional so that larger numbers of them are needed to control CMV. Expansions of CMV-specific CD4 T cells are also seen but are less well studied. In this study, we examined the T-cell response to the dominant CMV pp65 and IE-1 antigens in healthy CMV-infected people across a wide age range (20 to 84 years) by using multicolor flow cytometry. CMV-specific T cells were characterized by the activation markers CD40 ligand (CD40L), interleukin-2 (IL-2), tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-?), and gamma interferon (IFN-?) and the memory markers CD27 and CD45RA. The proportions of effector memory T cells increased in large responses, as did the proportions of polyfunctional CD8 (IFN-?(+) IL-2(+/-) TNF-?(+)) and CD4 (CD40L(+/-) IFN-?(+) IL-2(+) TNF-?(+)) T-cell subsets, while the proportion of naïve T cells decreased. The bigger the CD4 or CD8 T-cell response to pp65, the larger was the proportion of T cells with an advanced memory phenotype in the entire (including non-CMV-specific) T-cell compartment. In addition, the number of activation markers per cell correlated with the degree of T-cell receptor downregulation, suggesting increased antigen sensitivity in polyfunctional cells. In summary, our findings show that polyfunctional CMV-specific T cells were not superseded by dysfunctional cells, even in very large responses. At the same time, however, the memory subset composition of the entire T-cell compartment correlated with the size of the T-cell response to CMV pp65, confirming a strong effect of CMV infection on the immune systems of some, but not all, infected people.