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EuropePMC; 2020.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-317943


T-cell responses to SARS-CoV-2-derived peptide pools have been documented, however it remains largely unclear whether prominent SARS-CoV-2-specific T cell populations originate from naïve or pre-existing memory sets. As HLA-B*07:02-restricted N105-113 epitope (B7/N105) is the most dominant SARS-CoV-2 CD8+ T-cell specificity to date, we dissected CD8+ T-cell responses directed at this epitope by direct ex vivo analyses in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) from acute and convalescent COVID-19 patients, and pre-pandemic PBMCs, tonsils, lungs and spleens. Using peptide-HLA tetramers, immunodominant B7/N105+CD8+ T-cells were detected at a high frequency (∼2.18x10-4) in COVID-19 patients, comparable to the well-established influenza-specific A2/M158+CD8+ T-cell population. Remarkably, frequencies of B7/N105+CD8+ T-cells were also readily detectable in pre-pandemic PBMCs and tonsils (at 6.55x10-5 and 2.76x10-4, respectively), although they mainly displayed a naïve phenotype, indicating a lack of previous cross-reactive exposures. Ex vivo TCRαβ analyses revealed that a diverse TCRαβ repertoire and promiscuity in αβ TCR pairing underlie such high naïve precursor frequencies of B7/N105+CD8+ T-cells. Overall, our study demonstrates that high precursor frequency and plasticity of TCRα-TCRβ pairing underpin immunodominance of SARS-CoV-2-specific B7/N105+CD8+ T-cell responses and advocates for vaccine strategies which include the nucleocapsid protein to elicit immunodominant CD8+ T-cell responses in HLA-B*07:02 individuals.Funding: This work was supported by theClifford Craig Foundation to KLF and KK, NHMRC Leadership Investigator Grant to KK (1173871), NHMRC Program Grant to DLD (#1132975), Research Grants Council of theHong Kong Special Administrative Region, China (#T11-712/19-N) to KK, the Victorian Government (SJK, AKW), MRFF award (#2002073) to SJK and AKW, MRFFAward (#1202445) to KK, NHMRC program grant 1149990 (SJK) and NHMRC project grant 1162760 (AKW). AKW is supported by Emerging Leadership 1 Investigator Grant (#1173433), JAJ by an NHMRC Early Career Fellowship (ECF) (#1123673), KK by NHMRC SeniorResearch Fellowship (1102792), DLD by a NHMRC Principal Research Fellowship(#1137285) and SJK by NHMRC Senior Principal Research Fellowship (#1136322). CES has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement (#792532). JR is supported by an ARC Laureate fellowship. JRH and WZ are supported by the Melbourne Research Scholarship from The University of Melbourne. LH is supported by the Melbourne International Research Scholarship (MIRS) and the Melbourne International Fee Remission Scholarship (MIFRS) from The University of Melbourne.Ethical Approval: Experiments conformed to the Declaration of Helsinki Principles and theAustralian National Health and Medical Research Council Code of Practice. Written informed consents were obtained from all blood donors prior to the study. Lung and spleen tissues were obtained from deceased organ donors after written informed consents from the next of kin.Written informed consents were obtained from participants’ parental or guardians for underage tonsil tissue donors. The study was approved by the Alfred Hospital (#280/14), Austin Health (HREC/63201/Austin-2020);the University of Melbourne (#2057366.1, #2056901.1,#2056689, #2056761, #1442952, #1955465, and #1443389), the Australian Red CrossLifeblood (ID 2015#8), the Tasmanian Health and Medical (ID H0017479) and the James Cook University (H7886) Human Research Ethics Committees.

Clin Transl Immunology ; 10(3): e1258, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1107626


OBJECTIVES: As the world transitions into a new era of the COVID-19 pandemic in which vaccines become available, there is an increasing demand for rapid reliable serological testing to identify individuals with levels of immunity considered protective by infection or vaccination. METHODS: We used 34 SARS-CoV-2 samples to perform a rapid surrogate virus neutralisation test (sVNT), applicable to many laboratories as it circumvents the need for biosafety level-3 containment. We correlated results from the sVNT with five additional commonly used SARS-CoV-2 serology techniques: the microneutralisation test (MNT), in-house ELISAs, commercial Euroimmun- and Wantai-based ELISAs (RBD, spike and nucleoprotein; IgG, IgA and IgM), antigen-binding avidity, and high-throughput multiplex analyses to profile isotype, subclass and Fc effector binding potential. We correlated antibody levels with antibody-secreting cell (ASC) and circulatory T follicular helper (cTfh) cell numbers. RESULTS: Antibody data obtained with commercial ELISAs closely reflected results using in-house ELISAs against RBD and spike. A correlation matrix across ten measured ELISA parameters revealed positive correlations for all factors. The frequency of inhibition by rapid sVNT strongly correlated with spike-specific IgG and IgA titres detected by both commercial and in-house ELISAs, and MNT titres. Multiplex analyses revealed strongest correlations between IgG, IgG1, FcR and C1q specific to spike and RBD. Acute cTfh-type 1 cell numbers correlated with spike and RBD-specific IgG antibodies measured by ELISAs and sVNT. CONCLUSION: Our comprehensive analyses provide important insights into SARS-CoV-2 humoral immunity across distinct serology assays and their applicability for specific research and/or diagnostic questions to assess SARS-CoV-2-specific humoral responses.