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Immunity ; 55(7): 1299-1315.e4, 2022 07 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2076210


As the establishment of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)-specific T cell memory in children remains largely unexplored, we recruited convalescent COVID-19 children and adults to define their circulating memory SARS-CoV-2-specific CD4+ and CD8+ T cells prior to vaccination. We analyzed epitope-specific T cells directly ex vivo using seven HLA class I and class II tetramers presenting SARS-CoV-2 epitopes, together with Spike-specific B cells. Unvaccinated children who seroconverted had comparable Spike-specific but lower ORF1a- and N-specific memory T cell responses compared with adults. This agreed with our TCR sequencing data showing reduced clonal expansion in children. A strong stem cell memory phenotype and common T cell receptor motifs were detected within tetramer-specific T cells in seroconverted children. Conversely, children who did not seroconvert had tetramer-specific T cells of predominantly naive phenotypes and diverse TCRαß repertoires. Our study demonstrates the generation of SARS-CoV-2-specific T cell memory with common TCRαß motifs in unvaccinated seroconverted children after their first virus encounter.

COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes , CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes , Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte , Humans , Immunologic Memory , Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell , Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, alpha-beta/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus
Front Immunol ; 13: 945021, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2005871


Autoantibodies to multiple targets are found during acute COVID-19. Whether all, or some, persist after 6 months, and their correlation with sustained anti-SARS-CoV-2 immunity, is still controversial. Herein, we measured antibodies to multiple SARS-CoV-2 antigens (Wuhan-Hu-1 nucleoprotein (NP), whole spike (S), spike subunits (S1, S2 and receptor binding domain (RBD)) and Omicron spike) and 102 human proteins with known autoimmune associations, in plasma from healthcare workers 8 months post-exposure to SARS-CoV-2 (n=31 with confirmed COVID-19 disease and n=21 uninfected controls (PCR and anti-SARS-CoV-2 negative) at baseline). IgG antibody responses to SARS-CoV-2 antigens were significantly higher in the convalescent cohort than the healthy cohort, highlighting lasting antibody responses up to 8 months post-infection. These were also shown to be cross-reactive to the Omicron variant spike protein at a similar level to lasting anti-RBD antibodies (correlation r=0.89). Individuals post COVID-19 infection recognised a common set of autoantigens, specific to this group in comparison to the healthy controls. Moreover, the long-term level of anti-Spike IgG was associated with the breadth of autoreactivity post-COVID-19. There were further moderate positive correlations between anti-SARS-CoV-2 responses and 11 specific autoantigens. The most commonly recognised autoantigens were found in the COVID-19 convalescent cohort. Although there was no overall correlation in self-reported symptom severity and anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibody levels, anti-calprotectin antibodies were associated with return to healthy normal life 8 months post infection. Calprotectin was also the most common target for autoantibodies, recognized by 22.6% of the overall convalescent cohort. Future studies may address whether, counter-intuitively, such autoantibodies may play a protective role in the pathology of long-COVID-19.

Antibodies, Viral , COVID-19 , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , Autoantibodies/immunology , Autoantigens , COVID-19/complications , COVID-19/immunology , Humans , Immunoglobulin G , Leukocyte L1 Antigen Complex/immunology , SARS-CoV-2 , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Post-Acute COVID-19 Syndrome
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