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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.

Immunity ; 54(5): 1066-1082.e5, 2021 05 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1216346


To better understand primary and recall T cell responses during coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), it is important to examine unmanipulated severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)-specific T cells. By using peptide-human leukocyte antigen (HLA) tetramers for direct ex vivo analysis, we characterized CD8+ T cells specific for SARS-CoV-2 epitopes in COVID-19 patients and unexposed individuals. Unlike CD8+ T cells directed toward subdominant epitopes (B7/N257, A2/S269, and A24/S1,208) CD8+ T cells specific for the immunodominant B7/N105 epitope were detected at high frequencies in pre-pandemic samples and at increased frequencies during acute COVID-19 and convalescence. SARS-CoV-2-specific CD8+ T cells in pre-pandemic samples from children, adults, and elderly individuals predominantly displayed a naive phenotype, indicating a lack of previous cross-reactive exposures. T cell receptor (TCR) analyses revealed diverse TCRαß repertoires and promiscuous αß-TCR pairing within B7/N105+CD8+ T cells. Our study demonstrates high naive precursor frequency and TCRαß diversity within immunodominant B7/N105-specific CD8+ T cells and provides insight into SARS-CoV-2-specific T cell origins and subsequent responses.

CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/immunology , Immunodominant Epitopes/immunology , Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Adult , Aged , Amino Acid Motifs , CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes , Child , Convalescence , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/chemistry , Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte/chemistry , Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte/immunology , Female , Humans , Immunodominant Epitopes/chemistry , Male , Middle Aged , Phenotype , Phosphoproteins/chemistry , Phosphoproteins/immunology , Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell/chemistry , Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell/genetics , Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, alpha-beta/chemistry , Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, alpha-beta/genetics , Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, alpha-beta/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology