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Cell reports ; 2023.
Article in English | EuropePMC | ID: covidwho-2306169


Most existing studies characterising SARS-CoV-2-specific T cell responses are peptide based. This does not allow evaluation of whether tested peptides are processed and presented canonically. In this study, we use recombinant vaccinia virus (rVACV)-mediated expression of SARS-CoV-2 spike protein and SARS-CoV-2 infection of ACE-2-transduced B cell lines to evaluate overall T cell responses in a small cohort of recovered COVID-19 patients and uninfected donors vaccinated with ChAdOx1 nCoV-19. We show that rVACV expression of SARS-CoV-2 antigen can be used as an alternative to SARS-CoV-2 infection to evaluate T cell responses to naturally processed spike antigens. In addition, rVACV system can be used to evaluate the cross-reactivity of memory T cells to variants of concern (VOCs) and to identify epitope escape mutants. Finally, our data show that both natural infection and vaccination could induce multi-functional T cell responses with overall T cell responses remaining despite the identification of escape mutations. Graphical Yin et al. utilize two informative systems for evaluating overall T cell responses to SARS-CoV-2 and variants, enabling greater understanding of T cell responses to the virus, cross-reactivity to viral variants and the differences between vaccine- and infection-induced immunity to SARS-CoV-2, and other emerging viruses in the future.

Nat Immunol ; 23(1): 50-61, 2022 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1545628


NP105-113-B*07:02-specific CD8+ T cell responses are considered among the most dominant in SARS-CoV-2-infected individuals. We found strong association of this response with mild disease. Analysis of NP105-113-B*07:02-specific T cell clones and single-cell sequencing were performed concurrently, with functional avidity and antiviral efficacy assessed using an in vitro SARS-CoV-2 infection system, and were correlated with T cell receptor usage, transcriptome signature and disease severity (acute n = 77, convalescent n = 52). We demonstrated a beneficial association of NP105-113-B*07:02-specific T cells in COVID-19 disease progression, linked with expansion of T cell precursors, high functional avidity and antiviral effector function. Broad immune memory pools were narrowed postinfection but NP105-113-B*07:02-specific T cells were maintained 6 months after infection with preserved antiviral efficacy to the SARS-CoV-2 Victoria strain, as well as Alpha, Beta, Gamma and Delta variants. Our data show that NP105-113-B*07:02-specific T cell responses associate with mild disease and high antiviral efficacy, pointing to inclusion for future vaccine design.

HLA-B7 Antigen/immunology , Immunodominant Epitopes/immunology , Nucleocapsid Proteins/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , T-Lymphocytes, Cytotoxic/immunology , Aged , Amino Acid Sequence , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , Antibody Affinity/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/pathology , Cell Line, Transformed , Female , Gene Expression Profiling , Humans , Immunologic Memory/immunology , Male , Middle Aged , Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell/immunology , Severity of Illness Index , Vaccinia virus/genetics , Vaccinia virus/immunology , Vaccinia virus/metabolism
Nat Immunol ; 21(11): 1336-1345, 2020 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-889210


The development of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) vaccines and therapeutics will depend on understanding viral immunity. We studied T cell memory in 42 patients following recovery from COVID-19 (28 with mild disease and 14 with severe disease) and 16 unexposed donors, using interferon-γ-based assays with peptides spanning SARS-CoV-2 except ORF1. The breadth and magnitude of T cell responses were significantly higher in severe as compared with mild cases. Total and spike-specific T cell responses correlated with spike-specific antibody responses. We identified 41 peptides containing CD4+ and/or CD8+ epitopes, including six immunodominant regions. Six optimized CD8+ epitopes were defined, with peptide-MHC pentamer-positive cells displaying the central and effector memory phenotype. In mild cases, higher proportions of SARS-CoV-2-specific CD8+ T cells were observed. The identification of T cell responses associated with milder disease will support an understanding of protective immunity and highlights the potential of including non-spike proteins within future COVID-19 vaccine design.

Antigens, Viral/immunology , Betacoronavirus/immunology , CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes/immunology , CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes/immunology , Immunologic Memory/immunology , COVID-19 , COVID-19 Vaccines , Coronavirus Infections/immunology , Coronavirus Infections/pathology , Coronavirus Infections/prevention & control , Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte/immunology , Humans , Immunodominant Epitopes/immunology , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/immunology , Pneumonia, Viral/pathology , SARS-CoV-2 , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , United Kingdom , Viral Vaccines/immunology