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1.
Front Immunol ; 13: 812393, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1858006

ABSTRACT

CD8+ T cells are a pivotal part of the immune response to viruses, playing a key role in disease outcome and providing long-lasting immunity to conserved pathogen epitopes. Understanding CD8+ T cell immunity in humans is complex due to CD8+ T cell restriction by highly polymorphic Human Leukocyte Antigen (HLA) proteins, requiring T cell epitopes to be defined for different HLA allotypes across different ethnicities. Here we evaluate strategies that have been developed to facilitate epitope identification and study immunogenic T cell responses. We describe an immunopeptidomics approach to sequence HLA-bound peptides presented on virus-infected cells by liquid chromatography with tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS). Using antigen presenting cell lines that stably express the HLA alleles characteristic of Indigenous Australians, this approach has been successfully used to comprehensively identify influenza-specific CD8+ T cell epitopes restricted by HLA allotypes predominant in Indigenous Australians, including HLA-A*24:02 and HLA-A*11:01. This is an essential step in ensuring high vaccine coverage and efficacy in Indigenous populations globally, known to be at high risk from influenza disease and other respiratory infections.


Subject(s)
Influenza Vaccines , Influenza, Human , Australia , CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes , Chromatography, Liquid , Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte , HLA Antigens , Histocompatibility Antigens Class I , Histocompatibility Antigens Class II , Humans , Tandem Mass Spectrometry
2.
Nat Commun ; 13(1): 2774, 2022 May 19.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1852413

ABSTRACT

Respiratory tract infection with SARS-CoV-2 results in varying immunopathology underlying COVID-19. We examine cellular, humoral and cytokine responses covering 382 immune components in longitudinal blood and respiratory samples from hospitalized COVID-19 patients. SARS-CoV-2-specific IgM, IgG, IgA are detected in respiratory tract and blood, however, receptor-binding domain (RBD)-specific IgM and IgG seroconversion is enhanced in respiratory specimens. SARS-CoV-2 neutralization activity in respiratory samples correlates with RBD-specific IgM and IgG levels. Cytokines/chemokines vary between respiratory samples and plasma, indicating that inflammation should be assessed in respiratory specimens to understand immunopathology. IFN-α2 and IL-12p70 in endotracheal aspirate and neutralization in sputum negatively correlate with duration of hospital stay. Diverse immune subsets are detected in respiratory samples, dominated by neutrophils. Importantly, dexamethasone treatment does not affect humoral responses in blood of COVID-19 patients. Our study unveils differential immune responses between respiratory samples and blood, and shows how drug therapy affects immune responses during COVID-19.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Antibodies, Viral , Humans , Immunity , Immunoglobulin G , Immunoglobulin M , Respiratory System , SARS-CoV-2 , Severity of Illness Index , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus
3.
Frontiers in medicine ; 8, 2021.
Article in English | EuropePMC | ID: covidwho-1610285

ABSTRACT

T cell responses are a key cornerstone to viral immunity to drive high-quality antibody responses, establishing memory for recall and for viral clearance. Inefficient recruitment of T cell responses plays a role in the development of severe COVID-19 and is also represented by reduced cellular responses in men, children, and diversity compared with other epitope-specific subsets and available T cell receptor diversity. SARS-CoV-2-specific T cell responses are elicited by multiple vaccine formats and augmented by prior infection for hybrid immunity. Epitope conservation is relatively well-maintained leading to T cell crossreactivity for variants of concern that have diminished serological responses.

4.
Cell ; 185(4): 603-613.e15, 2022 02 17.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1588149

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 mRNA vaccines induce robust anti-spike (S) antibody and CD4+ T cell responses. It is not yet clear whether vaccine-induced follicular helper CD4+ T (TFH) cell responses contribute to this outstanding immunogenicity. Using fine-needle aspiration of draining axillary lymph nodes from individuals who received the BNT162b2 mRNA vaccine, we evaluated the T cell receptor sequences and phenotype of lymph node TFH. Mining of the responding TFH T cell receptor repertoire revealed a strikingly immunodominant HLA-DPB1∗04-restricted response to S167-180 in individuals with this allele, which is among the most common HLA alleles in humans. Paired blood and lymph node specimens show that while circulating S-specific TFH cells peak one week after the second immunization, S-specific TFH persist at nearly constant frequencies for at least six months. Collectively, our results underscore the key role that robust TFH cell responses play in establishing long-term immunity by this efficacious human vaccine.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/virology , Immunity/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , T Follicular Helper Cells/immunology , Vaccination , Vaccines, Synthetic/immunology , /immunology , Adult , B-Lymphocytes/immunology , COVID-19/blood , Clone Cells , Cohort Studies , Cytokines/metabolism , Female , Germinal Center/immunology , HLA-DP beta-Chains/immunology , Humans , Immunodominant Epitopes/immunology , Jurkat Cells , Lymph Nodes/metabolism , Male , Middle Aged , Peptides/chemistry , Peptides/metabolism , Protein Multimerization , Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell/metabolism
5.
EBioMedicine ; 74: 103729, 2021 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1555409

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: As vaccines against SARS-CoV-2 are now being rolled out, a better understanding of immunity to the virus, whether from infection, or passive or active immunisation, and the durability of this protection is required. This will benefit from the ability to measure antibody-based protection to SARS-CoV-2, ideally with rapid turnaround and without the need for laboratory-based testing. METHODS: We have developed a lateral flow POC test that can measure levels of RBD-ACE2 neutralising antibody (NAb) from whole blood, with a result that can be determined by eye or quantitatively on a small instrument. We compared our lateral flow test with the gold-standard microneutralisation assay, using samples from convalescent and vaccinated donors, as well as immunised macaques. FINDINGS: We show a high correlation between our lateral flow test with conventional neutralisation and that this test is applicable with animal samples. We also show that this assay is readily adaptable to test for protection to newly emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants, including the beta variant which revealed a marked reduction in NAb activity. Lastly, using a cohort of vaccinated humans, we demonstrate that our whole-blood test correlates closely with microneutralisation assay data (specificity 100% and sensitivity 96% at a microneutralisation cutoff of 1:40) and that fingerprick whole blood samples are sufficient for this test. INTERPRETATION: Taken together, the COVID-19 NAb-testTM device described here provides a rapid readout of NAb based protection to SARS-CoV-2 at the point of care. FUNDING: Support was received from the Victorian Operational Infrastructure Support Program and the Australian Government Department of Health. This work was supported by grants from the Department of Health and Human Services of the Victorian State Government; the ARC (CE140100011, CE140100036), the NHMRC (1113293, 2002317 and 1116530), and Medical Research Future Fund Awards (2005544, 2002073, 2002132). Individual researchers were supported by an NHMRC Emerging Leadership Level 1 Investigator Grants (1194036), NHMRC APPRISE Research Fellowship (1116530), NHMRC Leadership Investigator Grant (1173871), NHMRC Principal Research Fellowship (1137285), NHMRC Investigator Grants (1177174 and 1174555) and NHMRC Senior Principal Research Fellowships (1117766 and 1136322). Grateful support was also received from the A2 Milk Company and the Jack Ma Foundation.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Neutralizing/blood , Antibodies, Viral/blood , COVID-19 Serological Testing/methods , COVID-19/immunology , Point-of-Care Systems , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Animals , Australia , COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , Humans , Macaca/immunology , Neutralization Tests , Vaccination
6.
Open Forum Infect Dis ; 8(9): ofab359, 2021 Sep.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1405048

ABSTRACT

We describe severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)-specific immune responses in a patient with lymphoma and recent programmed death 1 (PD-1) inhibitor therapy with late onset of severe coronavirus disease 2019 disease and prolonged SARS-CoV-2 replication, in comparison to age-matched and immunocompromised controls. High levels of HLA-DR+/CD38+ activation, interleukin 6, and interleukin 18 in the absence of B cells and PD-1 expression was observed. SARS-CoV-2-specific antibody responses were absent and SARS-CoV-2-specific T cells were minimally detected. This case highlights challenges in managing immunocompromised hosts who may fail to mount effective virus-specific immune responses.

7.
J Biol Chem ; 297(3): 101065, 2021 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1347684

ABSTRACT

CD8+ T cells play an important role in vaccination and immunity against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection. Although numerous SARS-CoV-2 CD8+ T cell epitopes have been identified, the molecular basis underpinning T cell receptor (TCR) recognition of SARS-CoV-2-specific T cells remains unknown. The T cell response directed toward SARS-CoV-2 spike protein-derived S269-277 peptide presented by the human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-A∗02:01 allomorph (hereafter the HLA-A2S269-277 epitope) is, to date, the most immunodominant SARS-CoV-2 epitope found in individuals bearing this allele. As HLA-A2S269-277-specific CD8+ T cells utilize biased TRAV12 gene usage within the TCR α-chain, we sought to understand the molecular basis underpinning this TRAV12 dominance. We expressed four TRAV12+ TCRs which bound the HLA-A2S269-277 complex with low micromolar affinity and determined the crystal structure of the HLA-A2S269-277 binary complex, and subsequently a ternary structure of the TRAV12+ TCR complexed to HLA-A2S269-277. We found that the TCR made extensive contacts along the entire length of the S269-277 peptide, suggesting that the TRAV12+ TCRs would be sensitive to sequence variation within this epitope. To examine this, we investigated cross-reactivity toward analogous peptides from existing SARS-CoV-2 variants and closely related coronaviruses. We show via surface plasmon resonance and tetramer studies that the TRAV12+ T cell repertoire cross-reacts poorly with these analogous epitopes. Overall, we defined the structural basis underpinning biased TCR recognition of CD8+ T cells directed at an immunodominant epitope and provide a framework for understanding TCR cross-reactivity toward viral variants within the S269-277 peptide.


Subject(s)
Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte/chemistry , HLA-A2 Antigen/metabolism , Immunodominant Epitopes/metabolism , Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Humans , Protein Conformation , Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell/chemistry
8.
PLoS Pathog ; 17(7): e1009759, 2021 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1329138

ABSTRACT

The host response to SARS-CoV-2 infection provide insights into both viral pathogenesis and patient management. The host-encoded microRNA (miRNA) response to SARS-CoV-2 infection, however, remains poorly defined. Here we profiled circulating miRNAs from ten COVID-19 patients sampled longitudinally and ten age and gender matched healthy donors. We observed 55 miRNAs that were altered in COVID-19 patients during early-stage disease, with the inflammatory miR-31-5p the most strongly upregulated. Supervised machine learning analysis revealed that a three-miRNA signature (miR-423-5p, miR-23a-3p and miR-195-5p) independently classified COVID-19 cases with an accuracy of 99.9%. In a ferret COVID-19 model, the three-miRNA signature again detected SARS-CoV-2 infection with 99.7% accuracy, and distinguished SARS-CoV-2 infection from influenza A (H1N1) infection and healthy controls with 95% accuracy. Distinct miRNA profiles were also observed in COVID-19 patients requiring oxygenation. This study demonstrates that SARS-CoV-2 infection induces a robust host miRNA response that could improve COVID-19 detection and patient management.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Testing/methods , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19/genetics , MicroRNAs/genetics , SARS-CoV-2 , Adult , Aged , Animals , COVID-19/blood , Case-Control Studies , Diagnosis, Differential , Disease Models, Animal , Female , Ferrets , Gene Expression , Host Microbial Interactions/genetics , Humans , Influenza A Virus, H1N1 Subtype , Longitudinal Studies , Male , MicroRNAs/blood , Middle Aged , Orthomyxoviridae Infections/diagnosis , Orthomyxoviridae Infections/genetics , Pandemics , Supervised Machine Learning
9.
Immunol Cell Biol ; 99(9): 990-1000, 2021 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1258941

ABSTRACT

In-depth understanding of human T-cell-mediated immunity in coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is needed if we are to optimize vaccine strategies and immunotherapies. Identification of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) T-cell epitopes and generation of peptide-human leukocyte antigen (peptide-HLA) tetramers facilitate direct ex vivo analyses of SARS-CoV-2-specific T cells and their T-cell receptor (TCR) repertoires. We utilized a combination of peptide prediction and in vitro peptide stimulation to validate novel SARS-CoV-2 epitopes restricted by HLA-A*24:02, one of the most prominent HLA class I alleles, especially in Indigenous and Asian populations. Of the peptides screened, three spike-derived peptides generated CD8+ IFNγ+ responses above background, S1208-1216 (QYIKWPWYI), S448-456 (NYNYLYRLF) and S193-201 (VFKNIDGYF), with S1208 generating immunodominant CD8+ IFNγ+ responses. Using peptide-HLA-I tetramers, we performed direct ex vivo tetramer enrichment for HLA-A*24:02-restricted CD8+ T cells in COVID-19 patients and prepandemic controls. The precursor frequencies for HLA-A*24:02-restricted epitopes were within the range previously observed for other SARS-CoV-2 epitopes for both COVID-19 patients and prepandemic individuals. Naïve A24/SARS-CoV-2-specific CD8+ T cells increased nearly 7.5-fold above the average precursor frequency during COVID-19, gaining effector and memory phenotypes. Ex vivo single-cell analyses of TCRαß repertoires found that the A24/S448 + CD8+ T-cell TCRαß repertoire was driven by a common TCRß chain motif, whereas the A24/S1208 + CD8+ TCRαß repertoire was diverse across COVID-19 patients. Our study provides an in depth characterization and important insights into SARS-CoV-2-specific CD8+ T-cell responses associated with a prominent HLA-A*24:02 allomorph. This contributes to our knowledge on adaptive immune responses during primary COVID-19 and could be exploited in vaccine or immunotherapeutic approaches.


Subject(s)
CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes/immunology , COVID-19 , HLA-A24 Antigen , Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , Humans , SARS-CoV-2
11.
Immunity ; 54(5): 1066-1082.e5, 2021 05 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1216346

ABSTRACT

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.


Subject(s)
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
12.
Nat Commun ; 12(1): 2037, 2021 04 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1164849

ABSTRACT

The hallmarks of COVID-19 are higher pathogenicity and mortality in the elderly compared to children. Examining baseline SARS-CoV-2 cross-reactive immunological responses, induced by circulating human coronaviruses (hCoVs), is needed to understand such divergent clinical outcomes. Here we show analysis of coronavirus antibody responses of pre-pandemic healthy children (n = 89), adults (n = 98), elderly (n = 57), and COVID-19 patients (n = 50) by systems serology. Moderate levels of cross-reactive, but non-neutralizing, SARS-CoV-2 antibodies are detected in pre-pandemic healthy individuals. SARS-CoV-2 antigen-specific Fcγ receptor binding accurately distinguishes COVID-19 patients from healthy individuals, suggesting that SARS-CoV-2 infection induces qualitative changes to antibody Fc, enhancing Fcγ receptor engagement. Higher cross-reactive SARS-CoV-2 IgA and IgG are observed in healthy elderly, while healthy children display elevated SARS-CoV-2 IgM, suggesting that children have fewer hCoV exposures, resulting in less-experienced but more polyreactive humoral immunity. Age-dependent analysis of COVID-19 patients, confirms elevated class-switched antibodies in elderly, while children have stronger Fc responses which we demonstrate are functionally different. These insights will inform COVID-19 vaccination strategies, improved serological diagnostics and therapeutics.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Viral/blood , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , Antibody Formation/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , Child , Child, Preschool , Cross Reactions/immunology , Humans , Immunoglobulin A/blood , Immunoglobulin A/immunology , Immunoglobulin G/blood , Immunoglobulin G/immunology , Immunoglobulin M/blood , Immunoglobulin M/immunology , Middle Aged , Receptors, IgG/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Young Adult
13.
Clin Transl Immunology ; 10(3): e1258, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1107626

ABSTRACT

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.

14.
J Infect Dis ; 223(1): 10-14, 2021 01 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1066339

ABSTRACT

Estimates of seroprevalence of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) antibodies have been hampered by inadequate assay sensitivity and specificity. Using an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay-based approach that combines data about immunoglobulin G responses to both the nucleocapsid and spike receptor binding domain antigens, we show that excellent sensitivity and specificity can be achieved. We used this assay to assess the frequency of virus-specific antibodies in a cohort of elective surgery patients in Australia and estimated seroprevalence in Australia to be 0.28% (95% Confidence Interval, 0-1.15%). These data confirm the low level of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in Australia before July 2020 and validate the specificity of our assay.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Viral/analysis , COVID-19/diagnosis , Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay , Seroepidemiologic Studies , Antigens, Viral/immunology , Australia , COVID-19/immunology , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/immunology , Humans , Immunoglobulin G/analysis , Phosphoproteins/immunology , Sensitivity and Specificity , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology
15.
Cell Rep Med ; 2(3): 100208, 2021 03 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1065663

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 causes a spectrum of COVID-19 disease, the immunological basis of which remains ill defined. We analyzed 85 SARS-CoV-2-infected individuals at acute and/or convalescent time points, up to 102 days after symptom onset, quantifying 184 immunological parameters. Acute COVID-19 presented with high levels of IL-6, IL-18, and IL-10 and broad activation marked by the upregulation of CD38 on innate and adaptive lymphocytes and myeloid cells. Importantly, activated CXCR3+cTFH1 cells in acute COVID-19 significantly correlate with and predict antibody levels and their avidity at convalescence as well as acute neutralization activity. Strikingly, intensive care unit (ICU) patients with severe COVID-19 display higher levels of soluble IL-6, IL-6R, and IL-18, and hyperactivation of innate, adaptive, and myeloid compartments than patients with moderate disease. Our analyses provide a comprehensive map of longitudinal immunological responses in COVID-19 patients and integrate key cellular pathways of complex immune networks underpinning severe COVID-19, providing important insights into potential biomarkers and immunotherapies.


Subject(s)
Antibody Formation , COVID-19/immunology , Adaptive Immunity , Adult , Aged , Antibodies, Viral/blood , B-Lymphocytes/cytology , B-Lymphocytes/metabolism , COVID-19/pathology , COVID-19/virology , Female , Humans , Immunity, Innate , Interleukin-18/metabolism , Interleukin-6/metabolism , Male , Middle Aged , Receptors, CXCR3/metabolism , Receptors, Interleukin-6/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Severity of Illness Index , Th1 Cells/cytology , Th1 Cells/metabolism , Young Adult
16.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A ; 117(39): 24384-24391, 2020 09 29.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-775833

ABSTRACT

An improved understanding of human T cell-mediated immunity in COVID-19 is important for optimizing therapeutic and vaccine strategies. Experience with influenza shows that infection primes CD8+ T cell memory to peptides presented by common HLA types like HLA-A2, which enhances recovery and diminishes clinical severity upon reinfection. Stimulating peripheral blood mononuclear cells from COVID-19 convalescent patients with overlapping peptides from severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) led to the clonal expansion of SARS-CoV-2-specific CD8+ and CD4+ T cells in vitro, with CD4+ T cells being robust. We identified two HLA-A*02:01-restricted SARS-CoV-2-specfic CD8+ T cell epitopes, A2/S269-277 and A2/Orf1ab3183-3191 Using peptide-HLA tetramer enrichment, direct ex vivo assessment of A2/S269 +CD8+ and A2/Orf1ab3183 +CD8+ populations indicated that A2/S269 +CD8+ T cells were detected at comparable frequencies (∼1.3 × 10-5) in acute and convalescent HLA-A*02:01+ patients. These frequencies were higher than those found in uninfected HLA-A*02:01+ donors (∼2.5 × 10-6), but low when compared to frequencies for influenza-specific (A2/M158) and Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)-specific (A2/BMLF1280) (∼1.38 × 10-4) populations. Phenotyping A2/S269 +CD8+ T cells from COVID-19 convalescents ex vivo showed that A2/S269 +CD8+ T cells were predominantly negative for CD38, HLA-DR, PD-1, and CD71 activation markers, although the majority of total CD8+ T cells expressed granzymes and/or perforin. Furthermore, the bias toward naïve, stem cell memory and central memory A2/S269 +CD8+ T cells rather than effector memory populations suggests that SARS-CoV-2 infection may be compromising CD8+ T cell activation. Priming with appropriate vaccines may thus be beneficial for optimizing CD8+ T cell immunity in COVID-19.


Subject(s)
Betacoronavirus/immunology , CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes/immunology , Coronavirus Infections/immunology , HLA-A2 Antigen/immunology , Pneumonia, Viral/immunology , CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes/immunology , COVID-19 , Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte , Female , Humans , Immunologic Memory , Immunophenotyping , Leukocytes, Mononuclear/immunology , Lymphocyte Activation , Male , Middle Aged , Pandemics , Peptide Fragments/chemistry , Peptide Fragments/immunology , Polyproteins , SARS-CoV-2 , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Viral Proteins/chemistry , Viral Proteins/immunology
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