Emergence of CD4+ and CD8+ Polyfunctional T Cell Responses Against Immunodominant Lytic and Latent EBV Antigens in Children With Primary EBV Infection.
ABSTRACT: Long term carriers were shown to generate robust polyfunctional T cell (PFC) responses against lytic and latent antigens of Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). However, the time of emergence of PFC responses against EBV antigens, pattern of immunodominance and difference between CD4+ and CD8+ T cell responses during various stages of EBV infection are not clearly understood. A longitudinal study was performed to assess the development of antigen-specific PFC responses in children diagnosed to have primary symptomatic (infectious mononucleosis [IM]) and asymptomatic (AS) EBV infection. Evaluation of IFN-? secreting CD8+ T cell responses upon stimulation by HLA class I-specific peptides of EBV lytic and latent proteins by ELISPOT assay followed by assessment of CD4+ and CD8+ PFC responses upon stimulation by a panel of overlapping EBV peptides for co-expression of IFN-?, TNF-?, IL-2, perforin and CD107a by flow cytometry were performed. Cytotoxicity of T cells against autologous lymphoblastoid cell lines (LCLs) as well as EBV loads in PBMC and plasma were also determined. Both IM and AS patients had elevated PBMC and plasma viral loads which declined steadily during a 12-month period from the time of diagnosis whilst decrease in the magnitude of CD8+ T cell responses toward EBV lytic peptides in contrast to increase toward latent peptides was shown with no significant difference between those of IM and AS patients. Both lytic and latent antigen-specific CD4+ and CD8+ T cells demonstrated polyfunctionality (defined as greater or equal to three functions) concurrent with enhanced cytotoxicity against autologous LCLs and steady decrease in plasma and PBMC viral loads over time. Immunodominant peptides derived from BZLF1, BRLF1, BMLF1 and EBNA3A-C proteins induced the highest proportion of CD8+ as well as CD4+ PFC responses. Diverse functional subtypes of both CD4+ and CD8+ PFCs were shown to emerge at 6-12 months. In conclusion, EBV antigen-specific CD4+ and CD8+ PFC responses emerge during the first year of primary EBV infection, with greatest responses toward immunodominant epitopes in both lytic and latent proteins, correlating to steady decline in PBMC and plasma viral loads.
Project description:Mounting evidence indicates that infection with Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) has a major role in the pathogenesis of multiple sclerosis (MS). Defective elimination of EBV-infected B cells by CD8+ T cells might cause MS by allowing EBV-infected autoreactive B cells to accumulate in the brain. Here we undertake a comprehensive analysis of the T-cell response to EBV in MS, using flow cytometry and intracellular IFN-? staining to measure T-cell responses to EBV-infected autologous lymphoblastoid cell lines and pools of human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-class-I-restricted peptides from EBV lytic or latent proteins and cytomegalovirus (CMV), in 95 patients and 56 EBV-seropositive healthy subjects. In 20 HLA-A2+ healthy subjects and 20 HLA-A2+ patients we also analysed CD8+ T cells specific for individual peptides, measured by binding to HLA-peptide complexes and production of IFN-?, TNF-? and IL-2. We found a decreased CD8+ T-cell response to EBV lytic, but not CMV lytic, antigens at the onset of MS and at all subsequent disease stages. CD8+ T cells directed against EBV latent antigens were increased but had reduced cytokine polyfunctionality indicating T-cell exhaustion. During attacks the EBV-specific CD4+ and CD8+ T-cell populations expanded, with increased functionality of latent-specific CD8+ T cells. With increasing disease duration, EBV-specific CD4+ and CD8+ T cells progressively declined, consistent with T-cell exhaustion. The anti-EBNA1 IgG titre correlated inversely with the EBV-specific CD8+ T-cell frequency. We postulate that defective CD8+ T-cell control of EBV reactivation leads to an expanded population of latently infected cells, including autoreactive B cells.
Project description:Lifelong persistence of Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) in infected hosts is mainly owed to the virus' pronounced abilities to evade immune responses of its human host. Active immune evasion mechanisms reduce the immunogenicity of infected cells and are known to be of major importance during lytic infection. The EBV genes BCRF1 and BNLF2a encode the viral homologue of IL-10 (vIL-10) and an inhibitor of the transporter associated with antigen processing (TAP), respectively. Both are known immunoevasins in EBV's lytic phase. Here we describe that BCRF1 and BNLF2a are functionally expressed instantly upon infection of primary B cells. Using EBV mutants deficient in BCRF1 and BNLF2a, we show that both factors contribute to evading EBV-specific immune responses during the earliest phase of infection. vIL-10 impairs NK cell mediated killing of infected B cells, interferes with CD4+ T-cell activity, and modulates cytokine responses, while BNLF2a reduces antigen presentation and recognition of newly infected cells by EBV-specific CD8+ T cells. Together, both factors significantly diminish the immunogenicity of EBV-infected cells during the initial, pre-latent phase of infection and may improve the establishment of a latent EBV infection in vivo.
Project description:It has long been known that multiple sclerosis (MS) is associated with an increased Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) seroprevalence and high immune reactivity to EBV and that infectious mononucleosis increases MS risk. This evidence led to postulate that EBV infection plays a role in MS etiopathogenesis, although the mechanisms are debated. This study was designed to assess the prevalence and magnitude of CD8+ T-cell responses to EBV latent (EBNA-3A, LMP-2A) and lytic (BZLF-1, BMLF-1) antigens in relapsing-remitting MS patients (n?=?113) and healthy donors (HD) (n?=?43) and to investigate whether the EBV-specific CD8+ T cell response correlates with disease activity, as defined by clinical evaluation and gadolinium-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging. Using HLA class I pentamers, lytic antigen-specific CD8+ T cell responses were detected in fewer untreated inactive MS patients than in active MS patients and HD while the frequency of CD8+ T cells specific for EBV lytic and latent antigens was higher in active and inactive MS patients, respectively. In contrast, the CD8+ T cell response to cytomegalovirus did not differ between HD and MS patients, irrespective of the disease phase. Marked differences in the prevalence of EBV-specific CD8+ T cell responses were observed in patients treated with interferon-? and natalizumab, two licensed drugs for relapsing-remitting MS. Longitudinal studies revealed expansion of CD8+ T cells specific for EBV lytic antigens during active disease in untreated MS patients but not in relapse-free, natalizumab-treated patients. Analysis of post-mortem MS brain samples showed expression of the EBV lytic protein BZLF-1 and interactions between cytotoxic CD8+ T cells and EBV lytically infected plasma cells in inflammatory white matter lesions and meninges. We therefore propose that inability to control EBV infection during inactive MS could set the stage for intracerebral viral reactivation and disease relapse.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Pools of overlapping synthetic peptides are routinely used for ex vivo monitoring of antigen-specific T-cell responses. However, it is rather unlikely that these peptides match those resulting from naturally processed antigens. T-activated proteins have been described as immunogenic and more natural stimulants, since they have to pass through antigen processing and comprise activation of all clinically relevant effector cell populations. METHODS:We performed comparative analysis of numbers and cytokine expression pattern of CD4 and CD8 T cells after stimulation with recombinant, urea-formulated T-activated EBV-BZLF1, -EBNA3A, and HCMV-IE1, and -pp65 proteins or corresponding overlapping peptide pools. Freshly isolated and cryopreserved PBMC of 30 EBV- and 19 HCMV-seropositive and seven EBV- and HCMV-seronegative subjects were stimulated ex vivo and analysed for IFN-?, TNF and IL-2 production by flow cytometry-based intracellular cytokine staining. RESULTS:T-activated proteins showed a high specificity of 100% (EBV-BZLF1, HCMV-IE1, and -pp65) and 86% (EBV-EBNA3A), and a high T-cell stimulatory capacity of 73-95% and 67-95% using freshly isolated and cryopreserved PBMC, respectively. The overall CD4 T-cell response rates in both cohorts were comparable after stimulation with either T-activated protein or peptide pools with the exception of lower numbers of CD8 T cells detected after stimulation with T-activated EBV-EBNA3A- (p?=?0.038) and HCMV-pp65- (p?=?0.0006). Overall, the number of detectable antigen-specific T cells varied strongly between individuals. Cytokine expression patterns in response to T-activated protein and peptide pool-based stimulation were similar for CD4, but significantly different for CD8 T-cell responses. CONCLUSION:EBV and HCMV-derived T-activated proteins represent innovative, highly specific recall antigens suitable for use in immunological endpoint assays to evaluate success or failure in immunotherapy clinical trials (e.g. to assess the risk of EBV and/or HCMV reactivation after allogenic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation). T-activated proteins could be of particular importance, if an impaired antigen processing (e.g. in a post-transplant setting) must be taken into account.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is associated with a number of human malignancies. EBV-positive post-transplant lymphoproliferative disease in solid organ and hematopoietic stem cell transplant recipients has been successfully treated by the adoptive transfer of polyclonal EBV-specific T cell lines containing CD4+ and CD8+ T cell components. Although patients receiving T cell preparations with a higher CD4+ T cell proportion show better clinical responses, the specificity of the infused CD4+ component has remained completely unknown. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: We generated LCL-stimulated T cell lines from 21 donors according to clinical protocols, and analyzed the antigen specificity of the CD4+ component in EBV-specific T cell preparations using a genetically engineered EBV mutant that is unable to enter the lytic cycle, and recombinantly expressed and purified EBV proteins. Surprisingly, CD4+ T cell lines from acutely and persistently EBV-infected donors consistently responded against EBV lytic cycle antigens and autoantigens, but barely against latent cycle antigens of EBV hitherto considered principal immunotherapeutic targets. Lytic cycle antigens were predominantly derived from structural proteins of the virus presented on MHC II via receptor-mediated uptake of released viral particles, but also included abundant infected cell proteins whose presentation involved intercellular protein transfer. Importantly, presentation of virion antigens was severely impaired by acyclovir treatment of stimulator cells, as currently performed in most clinical protocols. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: These results indicate that structural antigens of EBV are the immunodominant targets of CD4+ T cells in LCL-stimulated T cell preparations. These findings add to our understanding of the immune response against this human tumor-virus and have important implications for the improvement of immunotherapeutic strategies against EBV.
Project description:Patients with infectious mononucleosis (IM) undergoing primary EBV infection show large expansions of EBV-specific CD8+ T cells in the blood. While latent infection of the B cell pool is quickly controlled, virus shedding from lytically infected cells in the oropharynx remains high for several months. We therefore studied how responses localize to the tonsil, a major target site for EBV, during primary infection and persistence. In acute IM, EBV-specific effectors were poorly represented among CD8+ T cells in tonsil compared with blood, coincident with absence of the CCR7 lymphoid homing marker on these highly activated cells. In patients who had recently recovered from IM, latent epitope reactivities were quicker than lytic reactivities both to acquire CCR7 and to accumulate in the tonsil, with some of these cells now expressing the CD103 integrin, which mediates retention at mucosal sites. By contrast, in long-term virus carriers in whom both lytic and latent infections had been controlled, there was 2- to 5-fold enrichment of lytic epitope reactivities and 10- to 20-fold enrichment of latent epitope reactivities in tonsil compared with blood; up to 20% of tonsillar CD8+ T cells were EBV specific, and many now expressed CD103. We suggest that efficient control of EBV infection requires appropriate CD8+ T cell homing to oropharyngeal sites.
Project description:The ability of Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) to spread and persist in human populations relies on a balance between host immune responses and EBV immune evasion. CD8(+) cells specific for EBV late lytic cycle antigens show poor recognition of target cells compared to immediate early and early antigen-specific CD8(+) cells. This phenomenon is due in part to the early EBV protein BILF1, whose immunosuppressive activity increases with lytic cycle progression. However, published data suggest the existence of a hitherto unidentified immune evasion protein further enhancing protection against late EBV antigen-specific CD8(+) cells. We have now identified the late lytic BDLF3 gene as the missing link accounting for efficient evasion during the late lytic cycle. Interestingly, BDLF3 also contributes to evasion of CD4(+) cell responses to EBV. We report that BDLF3 downregulates expression of surface major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I and class II molecules in the absence of any effect upon other surface molecules screened, including CD54 (ICAM-1) and CD71 (transferrin receptor). BDLF3 both enhanced internalization of surface MHC molecules and reduced the rate of their appearance at the cell surface. The reduced expression of surface MHC molecules correlated with functional protection against CD8(+) and CD4(+) T cell recognition. The molecular mechanism was identified as BDLF3-induced ubiquitination of MHC molecules and their subsequent downregulation in a proteasome-dependent manner.Immune evasion is a necessary feature of viruses that establish lifelong persistent infections in the face of strong immune responses. EBV is an important human pathogen whose immune evasion mechanisms are only partly understood. Of the EBV immune evasion mechanisms identified to date, none could explain why CD8(+) T cell responses to late lytic cycle genes are so infrequent and, when present, recognize lytically infected target cells so poorly relative to CD8(+) T cells specific for early lytic cycle antigens. The present work identifies an additional immune evasion protein, BDLF3, that is expressed late in the lytic cycle and impairs CD8(+) T cell recognition by targeting cell surface MHC class I molecules for ubiquitination and proteasome-dependent downregulation. Interestingly, BDLF3 also targets MHC class II molecules to impair CD4(+) T cell recognition. BDLF3 is therefore a rare example of a viral protein that impairs both the MHC class I and class II antigen-presenting pathways.
Project description: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.
Project description:gamma 1-Herpesviruses such as Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) have a unique ability to amplify virus loads in vivo through latent growth-transforming infection. Whether they, like alpha- and beta-herpesviruses, have been driven to actively evade immune detection of replicative (lytic) infection remains a moot point. We were prompted to readdress this question by recent work (Pudney, V.A., A.M. Leese, A.B. Rickinson, and A.D. Hislop. 2005. J. Exp. Med. 201:349-360; Ressing, M.E., S.E. Keating, D. van Leeuwen, D. Koppers-Lalic, I.Y. Pappworth, E.J.H.J. Wiertz, and M. Rowe. 2005. J. Immunol. 174:6829-6838) showing that, as EBV-infected cells move through the lytic cycle, their susceptibility to EBV-specific CD8(+) T cell recognition falls dramatically, concomitant with a reductions in transporter associated with antigen processing (TAP) function and surface human histocompatibility leukocyte antigen (HLA) class I expression. Screening of genes that are unique to EBV and closely related gamma 1-herpesviruses of Old World primates identified an early EBV lytic cycle gene, BNLF2a, which efficiently blocks antigen-specific CD8(+) T cell recognition through HLA-A-, HLA-B-, and HLA-C-restricting alleles when expressed in target cells in vitro. The small (60-amino acid) BNLF2a protein mediated its effects through interacting with the TAP complex and inhibiting both its peptide- and ATP-binding functions. Furthermore, this targeting of the major histocompatibility complex class I pathway appears to be conserved among the BNLF2a homologues of Old World primate gamma 1-herpesviruses. Thus, even the acquisition of latent cycle genes endowing unique growth-transforming ability has not liberated these agents from evolutionary pressure to evade CD8(+) T cell control over virus replicative foci.
Project description:Acquisition of T cell responses during primary CMV infection in lung transplant recipients (LTRs) appear critical for host defense and allograft durability, with increased mortality in donor+/recipient- (D+R-) individuals. In 15 D+R- LTRs studied, acute primary CMV infection was characterized by viremia in the presence or absence of pneumonitis, with viral loads higher in the lung airways/allograft compared with the blood. A striking influx of CD8+ T cells into the lung airways/allograft was observed, with inversion of the CD4+:CD8+ T cell ratio. De novo CMV-specific CD8+ effector frequencies in response to pooled peptides of pp65 were strikingly higher in lung mononuclear cells compared with the PBMC and predominated over IE1-specific responses and CD4+ effector responses in both compartments. The frequencies of pp65-specific cytokine responses were significantly higher in lung mononuclear cells compared with PBMC and demonstrated marked contraction with long-term persistence of effector memory CD8+ T cells in the lung airways following primary infection. CMV-tetramer+CD8+ T cells from PBMC were CD45RA- during viremia and transitioned to CD45RA+ following resolution. In contrast, CMV-specific CD8+ effectors in the lung airways/allograft maintained a CD45RA- phenotype during transition from acute into chronic infection. Together, these data reveal differential CMV-specific CD8+ effector frequencies, immunodominance, and polyfunctional cytokine responses predominating in the lung airways/allograft compared with the blood during acute primary infection. Moreover, we show intercompartmental phenotypic differences in CMV-specific memory responses during the transition to chronic infection.