Immune Control of Burkholderia pseudomallei--Common, High-Frequency T-Cell Responses to a Broad Repertoire of Immunoprevalent Epitopes.
ABSTRACT: Burkholderia pseudomallei (Bp) is an environmental bacterial pathogen that causes potentially lethal sepsis in susceptible individuals and is considered a Category B, Tier-1 biothreat agent. As such, it is crucial to gain an improved understanding of protective immunity and potential vaccine candidates. The nature of immune correlates dictating why most exposed individuals in endemic regions undergo asymptomatic seroconversion while others succumb to life-threatening sepsis is largely uncharted. Bp seroreactive, immunogenic proteins have previously been identified by antigen microarray. We here set out to conduct an analysis of T-cell recognition of the Bp immunome using serodominant antigens represented in the original antigen microarray, examining immune correlates of disease in healthy seropositive individuals and those with acute disease or in convalescence. By screening a library of 739 overlapping peptides representing the sequences of 20 different Bp antigens, we aimed to define immune correlates of protection at the level of immunoprevalent T-cell epitopes. Responses to a large number of epitopes were common in healthy seropositive individuals: we found remarkably broad responsiveness to Bp epitopes, with 235 of 739 peptides recognized by??80% of all tested donors. The cumulative response to Bp epitopes in healthy, seropositive, donors from this endemic region were of the order of thousands of spot forming cells per million cells, making Bp recognition a significant component of the T-cell repertoire. Noteworthy among our findings, analysis revealed 10 highly immunoprevalent T-cell epitopes, able to induce Bp-specific IFN? responses that were high in responding T-cell frequency within the repertoire, and also common across individuals with different human leukocyte antigen types. Acute melioidosis patients showed poor T-cell responses to the immunoprevalent epitopes, but acquired responsiveness following recovery from infection. Our findings suggest that a large repertoire of CD4 T cells, high in frequency and with broad coverage of antigens and epitopes, is important in controlling Bp infection. This offers an attractive potential strategy for subunit or epitope-based vaccines.
Project description:In healthy individuals, immune control of persistent human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) infection is effectively mediated by virus-specific CD4+ and CD8+ T cells. However, identifying the repertoire of T cell specificities for HCMV is hampered by the immense protein coding capacity of this betaherpesvirus. Here, we present a novel approach that employs HCMV deletion mutant viruses lacking HLA class I immunoevasins and allows direct identification of naturally presented HCMV-derived HLA ligands by mass spectrometry. We identified 368 unique HCMV-derived HLA class I ligands representing an unexpectedly broad panel of 123 HCMV antigens. Functional characterization revealed memory T cell responses in seropositive individuals for a substantial proportion (28%) of these novel peptides. Multiple HCMV-directed specificities in the memory T cell pool of single individuals indicate that physiologic anti-HCMV T cell responses are directed against a broad range of antigens. Thus, the unbiased identification of naturally presented viral epitopes enabled a comprehensive and systematic assessment of the physiological repertoire of anti-HCMV T cell specificities in seropositive individuals.
Project description:In healthy individuals, immune control of persistent human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) infection is effectively mediated by virus-specific CD4+ and CD8+ T cells. However, identification of the repertoire of T-cell specificities for HCMV is hampered by the immense protein coding capacity of this betaherpesvirus. We applied a novel approach which employs HCMV deletion mutant viruses, lacking HLA class I immunoevasins. Infection of human fibroblast cell lines with those mutant viruses allowed the direct identification of naturally presented HCMV-derived HLA ligands by mass spectrometry. Using this strategy, we identified 368 unique HCMV-derived HLA class I ligands representing an unexpectedly broad panel of 123 HCMV antigens. Functional characterization revealed memory T-cell responses in seropositive individuals for a substantial proportion (28%) of these novel peptides. The unbiased identification of naturally presented viral epitopes enabled a comprehensive and systematic assessment of the physiological repertoire of anti-HCMV T-cell specificities in seropositive individuals. This approach proved to be superior to procedures applying in silico analysis to identify true viral antigens.
Project description:Dengue virus infects an estimated 300 million people each year and even more are at risk of becoming infected as the virus continues to spread into new areas. Despite the increase in viral prevalence, no anti-viral medications or vaccines are approved for treating or preventing infection. CD8+ T cell responses play a major role in viral clearance. Therefore, effective vaccines that induce a broad, multi-functional T cell response with substantial cross-reactivity between all virus serotypes can have major impacts on reducing infection rates and infection related complications. Here, we took an immunoproteomic approach to identify novel MHC class I restricted T cell epitopes presented by dengue virus infected cells, representing the natural and authentic targets of the T cell response. Using this approach we identified 4 novel MHC-I restricted epitopes: 2 with the binding motif for HLA-A24 molecules and 2 with both HLA-A2 and HLA-A24 binding motifs. These peptides were able to activate CD8+ T cell responses in both healthy, seronegative individuals and in seropositive individuals who have previously been infected with dengue virus. Importantly, the dual binding epitopes activated pre-existing T cell precursors in PBMCs obtained from both HLA-A2+ and HLA-A24+ seropositive individuals. Together, the data indicate that these epitopes are immunologically relevant T cell activating peptides presented on infected cells during a natural infection and therefore may serve as candidate antigens for the development of effective multi-serotype specific dengue virus vaccines.
Project description:Understanding immunity to vaccinia virus (VACV) is important for the development of safer vaccines for smallpox- and poxvirus-vectored recombinant vaccines. VACV is also emerging as an outstanding model for studying CD8(+) T cell immunodominance because of the large number of CD8(+) T cell epitopes known for this virus in both mice and humans. In this study, we characterize the CD8(+) T cell response in vaccinated BALB/c mice by a genome-wide mapping approach. Responses to each of 54 newly identified H-2(d)-restricted T cell epitopes could be detected after i.p. and dermal vaccination routes. Analysis of these new epitopes in the context of those already known for VACV in mice and humans revealed two important findings. First, CD8(+) T cell epitopes are not randomly distributed across the VACV proteome, with some proteins being poorly or nonimmunogenic, while others are immunoprevalent, being frequently recognized across diverse MHC haplotypes. Second, some proteins constituted the major targets of the immune response by a specific haplotype as they recruited the majority of the specific CD8(+) T cells but these proteins did not correspond to the immunoprevalent Ags. Thus, we found a dissociation between immunoprevalence and immunodominance, implying that different sets of rules govern these two phenomena. Together, these findings have clear implications for the design of CD8(+) T cell subunit vaccines and in particular raise the exciting prospect of being able to choose subunits without reference to MHC restriction.
Project description:HSV type 1 (HSV-1) is a prevalent human pathogen that infects >3.72 billion individuals worldwide and can cause potentially blinding recurrent corneal herpetic disease. HSV-1 establishes latency within sensory neurons of trigeminal ganglia (TG), and TG-resident CD8+ T cells play a critical role in preventing its reactivation. The repertoire, phenotype, and function of protective CD8+ T cells are unknown. Bolstering the apparent feeble numbers of CD8+ T cells in TG remains a challenge for immunotherapeutic strategies. In this study, a comprehensive panel of 467 HLA-A*0201-restricted CD8+ T cell epitopes was predicted from the entire HSV-1 genome. CD8+ T cell responses to these genome-wide epitopes were compared in HSV-1-seropositive symptomatic individuals (with a history of numerous episodes of recurrent herpetic disease) and asymptomatic (ASYMP) individuals (who are infected but never experienced any recurrent herpetic disease). Frequent polyfunctional HSV-specific IFN-?+CD107a/b+CD44highCD62LlowCD8+ effector memory T cells were detected in ASYMP individuals and were primarily directed against three "ASYMP" epitopes. In contrast, symptomatic individuals have more monofunctional CD44highCD62LhighCD8+ central memory T cells. Furthermore, therapeutic immunization with an innovative prime/pull vaccine, based on priming with multiple ASYMP epitopes (prime) and neurotropic TG delivery of the T cell-attracting chemokine CXCL10 (pull), boosted the number and function of CD44highCD62LlowCD8+ effector memory T cells and CD103highCD8+ tissue-resident T cells in TG of latently infected HLA-A*0201-transgenic mice and reduced recurrent ocular herpes following UV-B-induced reactivation. These findings have profound implications in the development of T cell-based immunotherapeutic strategies to treat blinding recurrent herpes infection and disease.
Project description:CD8+ T cells recognize HIV-1 epitopes translated from a gene's primary reading frame (F1) and any one of its five alternative reading frames (ARFs) in the forward (F2, F3) or reverse (R1-3) directions. The 3' end of HIV-1's proviral coding strand contains a conserved sequence that is directly overlapping but antiparallel to the env gene (ARF R2) and encodes for a putative antisense HIV-1 protein called ASP. ASP expression has been demonstrated in vitro using HIV-transfected cell lines or infected cells. Although antibodies to ASP were previously detected in patient sera, T cell recognition of ASP-derived epitopes has not been evaluated. We therefore investigated the ex vivo and in vitro induction of ASP-specific T cell responses as a measure of immune recognition and protein expression during HIV-1 infection.A panel of overlapping peptides was initially designed from the full-length ASP sequence to perform a global assessment of T cell responses. Recognition of ASP-derived antigens was evaluated in an IFN-?ELISpot assay using PBMCs from HIV-1 seropositive and seronegative individuals. Eight of 25 patients had positive responses to ASP antigens and none of the seronegative donors responded. As a complimentary approach, a second set of antigens was designed using HLA-I binding motifs and affinities. Two ASP-derived peptides with high predicted binding affinities for HLA-A*02 (ASP-YL9) and HLA-B*07 (ASP-TL10) were tested using PBMCs from HIV-1 seropositive and seronegative individuals who expressed the matching HLA-I-restricting allele. We found that HLA-I-restricted ASP peptides were only recognized by CD8+ T cells from patients with the relevant HLA-I and did not induce responses in any of the seronegative donors or patients who do not express the restrictive HLA alleles. Further, ASP-YL9-specific CD8+ T cells had functional profiles that were similar to a previously described HLA-A*02-restricted epitope (Gag-SL9). Specific recognition of ASP-YL9 by CD8+ T cells was also demonstrated by tetramer staining using cells from an HLA-A*02 HIV-infected patient.Our results provide the first description of CD8+ T cell-mediated immune responses to ASP in HIV-1-infected patients, demonstrating that ASP is expressed during infection. Our identification of epitopes within ASP has implications for designing HIV vaccines.
Project description:We performed a quantitative analysis of the HLA restriction, antigen and epitope specificity of human pathogen specific responses in healthy individuals infected with M. tuberculosis (Mtb), in a South African cohort as a test case. The results estimate the breadth of T cell responses for the first time in the context of an infection and human population setting. We determined the epitope repertoire of eleven representative Mtb antigens and a large panel of previously defined Mtb epitopes. We estimated that our analytic methods detected 50-75% of the total response in a cohort of 63 individuals. As expected, responses were highly heterogeneous, with responses to a total of 125 epitopes detected. The 66 top epitopes provided 80% coverage of the responses identified in our study. Using a panel of 48 HLA class II-transfected antigen-presenting cells, we determined HLA class II restrictions for 278 epitope/donor recognition events (36% of the total). The majority of epitopes were restricted by multiple HLA alleles, and 380 different epitope/HLA combinations comprised less than 30% of the estimated Mtb-specific response. Our results underline the complexity of human T cell responses at a population level. Efforts to capture and characterize this broad and highly HLA promiscuous Mtb-specific T cell epitope repertoire will require significant peptide multiplexing efforts. We show that a comprehensive "megapool" of Mtb peptides captured a large fraction of the Mtb-specific T cells and can be used to characterize this response.
Project description:With the advent of single B-cell cloning technology, we can isolate antibodies against virtually any antigen to study the interaction of a given pathogen with the immune system and develop novel therapeutic strategies. Antibodies directed against the capsid of adeno-associated viruses (AAV) are a significant obstacle to effectively leveraging AAV as a gene-delivery vector in seropositive individuals. In order to design next-generation vectors that can evade neutralization by these antibodies, studies have mapped the epitopes of mouse monoclonal antibodies generated by immunization with AAV. Although these studies provide critical information regarding capsid immunogenicity, they cannot address (1) differences in the antibody repertoire generated in humans following AAV natural infection; or (2) how reactions can vary when generated in response to vector administration. Here, we isolated and evaluated a panel of novel, fully human anti-AAV antibodies by cloning single memory B cells from a seropositive normal donor. We have validated the utility of this approach to study AAV immunology. Our goal is to leverage this knowledge to design novel AAV variants that can effectively transduce target tissues in individuals with AAV-neutralizing antibodies.
Project description:Adoptive transfer of cytomegalovirus (CMV)-specific T cells derived from adult seropositive donors can effectively restore antiviral immunity after transplantation. However, CMV-seronegative donors lack CMV-specific memory T cells, which restricts the availability of virus-specific T cells for immunoprophylaxis. We demonstrate the feasibility of deriving CMV-specific T cells from naïve cells for T cell therapy. Naïve T cells primed to recognize CMV were restricted to different, atypical epitopes than T cells derived from CMV-seropositive individuals; however, these two cell populations had similar avidities. CMV-seropositive individuals also had T cells recognizing these atypical epitopes, but these cells had a lower avidity than those derived from the seronegative subjects, which suggests that high-avidity T cells to these epitopes may be lost over time. Indeed, recipients of cord blood (CB) grafts who did not develop CMV were found by clonotypic analysis to have T cells recognizing atypical CMVpp65 epitopes. Therefore, we examined unmanipulated CB units and found that T cells with T cell receptors restricted by atypical epitopes were the most common, which may explain why these T cells expanded. When infused to recipients, naïve donor-derived virus-specific T cells that recognized atypical epitopes were associated with prolonged periods of CMV-free survival and complete remission. These data suggest that naïve-derived T cells from seronegative patients may be an additional source of cells for CMV immunoprophylaxis.
Project description:Restoring antiviral immunity is a promising immunotherapeutic approach to the treatment of chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection. Dendritic cells play a crucial role in triggering antiviral immunity. In this study, we identified immunodominant epitopes prevalent in CD8<sup>+</sup> T cell responses. We characterized the hierarchy of HBV epitopes targeted by CD8<sup>+</sup> T cells following autologous monocyte-derived dendritic cell (moDC) expansion in HBV-infected subjects with distinct disease stages: treatment-naïve (TN group, n = 168), treatment with complete virological response (TR group, n = 72), and resolved HBV infection (RS group, n = 28). T cell responses against 32 HBV epitopes were measured upon moDC expansion. Several subdominant epitopes that triggered HBV-specific CD8<sup>+</sup> T cell responses were identified. These epitopes' responses varied in individuals with different disease stages. Moreover, the most immunodominant and immunoprevalent epitope included the envelope residues 256-270 (Env<sub>256-270</sub>), corresponding to amino acid residues 93-107 in the small HBV surface protein (SHBs) across three patient groups. The frequency of Env<sub>256-270</sub>-specific interferon-?-producing T cells was the highest in the RS group and the lowest in the TN group. In addition, individuals with HLA-A*02:03/02:06/02:07 were capable of responding to Env<sub>256-270</sub>. Env<sub>256-270</sub>-specific CD8<sup>+</sup> T cells tolerated amino acid variations within the epitope detected in HBV genotypes B and C. This suggests that Env<sub>256-270</sub> in SHBs is crucial in HBV-specific T cell immunity following autologous moDC expansion. It might be a potential target epitope for dendritic-cell-based immunotherapy for CHB patients with complete viral suppression by long-term NAs treatment.