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1.
Microbiol Spectr ; 9(3): e0165921, 2021 12 22.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1598527

ABSTRACT

COVID-19 vaccines are currently being administered worldwide and playing a critical role in controlling the pandemic. They have been designed to elicit neutralizing antibodies against Spike protein of the original SARS-CoV-2, and hence they are less effective against SARS-CoV-2 variants with mutated Spike than the original virus. It is possible that novel variants with abilities of enhanced transmissibility and/or immunoevasion will appear in the near future and perfectly escape from vaccine-elicited immunity. Therefore, the current vaccines may need to be improved to compensate for the viral evolution. For this purpose, it may be beneficial to take advantage of CD8+ cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs). Several lines of evidence suggest the contribution of CTLs on the viral control in COVID-19, and CTLs target a wide range of proteins involving comparatively conserved nonstructural proteins. Here, we identified 22 HLA-A*24:02-restricted CTL candidate epitopes derived from the nonstructural polyprotein 1a (pp1a) of SARS-CoV-2 using computational algorithms, HLA-A*24:02 transgenic mice and the peptide-encapsulated liposomes. We focused on pp1a and HLA-A*24:02 because pp1a is relatively conserved and HLA-A*24:02 is predominant in East Asians such as Japanese. The conservation analysis revealed that the amino acid sequences of 7 out of the 22 epitopes were hardly affected by a number of mutations in the Sequence Read Archive database of SARS-CoV-2 variants. The information of such conserved epitopes might be useful for designing the next-generation COVID-19 vaccine that is universally effective against any SARS-CoV-2 variants by the induction of both anti-Spike neutralizing antibodies and CTLs specific for conserved epitopes. IMPORTANCE COVID-19 vaccines have been designed to elicit neutralizing antibodies against the Spike protein of the original SARS-CoV-2, and hence they are less effective against variants. It is possible that novel variants will appear and escape from vaccine-elicited immunity. Therefore, the current vaccines may need to be improved to compensate for the viral evolution. For this purpose, it may be beneficial to take advantage of CD8+ cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs). Here, we identified 22 HLA-A*24:02-restricted CTL candidate epitopes derived from the nonstructural polyprotein 1a (pp1a) of SARS-CoV-2. We focused on pp1a and HLA-A*24:02 because pp1a is conserved and HLA-A*24:02 is predominant in East Asians. The conservation analysis revealed that the amino acid sequences of 7 out of the 22 epitopes were hardly affected by mutations in the database of SARS-CoV-2 variants. The information might be useful for designing the next-generation COVID-19 vaccine that is universally effective against any variants.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/immunology , Epitopes/immunology , HLA-A24 Antigen/genetics , HLA-A24 Antigen/immunology , Mutation , Polyproteins/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , T-Lymphocytes, Cytotoxic/immunology , Amino Acid Sequence , Animals , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes/immunology , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19/virology , COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , Epitopes/genetics , HLA-A24 Antigen/isolation & purification , Humans , Mice , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology
2.
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
3.
ArXiv ; 2020 Apr 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-832815

ABSTRACT

We are in the midst of a global viral pandemic, one with no cure and a high mortality rate. The Human Leukocyte Antigen (HLA) gene complex plays a critical role in host immunity. We predicted HLA class I and II alleles from the transcriptome sequencing data prepared from the bronchoalveolar lavage fluid samples of five patients at the early stage of the COVID-19 outbreak. We identified the HLA-I allele A*24:02 in four out of five patients, which is higher than the expected frequency (17.2%) in the South Han Chinese population. The difference is statistically significant with a p-value less than 10-4. Our analysis results may help provide future insights on disease susceptibility.

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