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1.
Cell Rep ; 37(13): 110167, 2021 12 28.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1596401

ABSTRACT

Cross-reactivity and direct killing of target cells remain underexplored for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2)-specific CD8+ T cells. Isolation of T cell receptors (TCRs) and overexpression in allogeneic cells allows for extensive T cell reactivity profiling. We identify SARS-CoV-2 RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp/NSP12) as highly conserved, likely due to its critical role in the virus life cycle. We perform single-cell TCRαß sequencing in human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-A∗02:01-restricted, RdRp-specific T cells from SARS-CoV-2-unexposed individuals. Human T cells expressing these TCRαß constructs kill target cell lines engineered to express full-length RdRp. Three TCR constructs recognize homologous epitopes from common cold coronaviruses, indicating CD8+ T cells can recognize evolutionarily diverse coronaviruses. Analysis of individual TCR clones may help define vaccine epitopes that can induce long-term immunity against SARS-CoV-2 and other coronaviruses.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/immunology , HLA-A2 Antigen/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/therapy , Cell Culture Techniques , Cross Reactions/immunology , Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte/immunology , HLA-A Antigens/immunology , HLA-A2 Antigen/genetics , Humans , Immunodominant Epitopes/immunology , Leukocytes, Mononuclear/immunology , Leukocytes, Mononuclear/metabolism , Leukocytes, Mononuclear/virology , RNA, Viral/genetics , Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell/immunology , Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, alpha-beta/genetics , Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, alpha-beta/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology
2.
Cells ; 11(1)2021 12 27.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1580992

ABSTRACT

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a global infectious disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. T cells play an essential role in the body's fighting against the virus invasion, and the T cell receptor (TCR) is crucial in T cell-mediated virus recognition and clearance. However, little has been known about the features of T cell response in convalescent COVID-19 patients. In this study, using 5'RACE technology and PacBio sequencing, we analyzed the TCR repertoire of COVID-19 patients after recovery for 2 weeks and 6 months compared with the healthy donors. The TCR clustering and CDR3 annotation were exploited to discover groups of patient-specific TCR clonotypes with potential SARS-CoV-2 antigen specificities. We first identified CD4+ and CD8+ T cell clones with certain clonal expansion after infection, and then observed the preferential recombination usage of V(D) J gene segments in CD4+ and CD8+ T cells of COVID-19 patients with different convalescent stages. More important, the TRBV6-5-TRBD2-TRBJ2-7 combination with high frequency was shared between CD4+ T and CD8+ T cells of different COVID-19 patients. Finally, we found the dominant characteristic motifs of the CDR3 sequence between recovered COVID-19 and healthy control. Our study provides novel insights on TCR in COVID-19 with different convalescent phases, contributing to our understanding of the immune response induced by SARS-CoV-2.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/immunology , High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing/methods , Immunity/immunology , Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , T-Lymphocytes/immunology , Aged , Amino Acid Sequence , CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes/immunology , CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes/metabolism , CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes/virology , CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes/immunology , CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes/metabolism , CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes/virology , COVID-19/metabolism , COVID-19/virology , Cells, Cultured , Complementarity Determining Regions/genetics , Complementarity Determining Regions/immunology , Convalescence , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Patient Acuity , Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell/genetics , Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell/metabolism , Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, alpha-beta/genetics , Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, alpha-beta/immunology , Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, alpha-beta/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , T-Lymphocytes/metabolism , T-Lymphocytes/virology
3.
Sci Immunol ; 6(59)2021 05 25.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1337429

ABSTRACT

Multiple Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C) is a delayed and severe complication of SARS-CoV-2 infection that strikes previously healthy children. As MIS-C combines clinical features of Kawasaki disease and Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS), we aimed to compare the immunological profile of pediatric patients with these different conditions. We analyzed blood cytokine expression, and the T cell repertoire and phenotype in 36 MIS-C cases, which were compared to 16 KD, 58 TSS, and 42 COVID-19 cases. We observed an increase of serum inflammatory cytokines (IL-6, IL-10, IL-18, TNF-α, IFNγ, CD25s, MCP1, IL-1RA) in MIS-C, TSS and KD, contrasting with low expression of HLA-DR in monocytes. We detected a specific expansion of activated T cells expressing the Vß21.3 T cell receptor ß chain variable region in both CD4 and CD8 subsets in 75% of MIS-C patients and not in any patient with TSS, KD, or acute COVID-19; this correlated with the cytokine storm detected. The T cell repertoire returned to baseline within weeks after MIS-C resolution. Vß21.3+ T cells from MIS-C patients expressed high levels of HLA-DR, CD38 and CX3CR1 but had weak responses to SARS-CoV-2 peptides in vitro. Consistently, the T cell expansion was not associated with specific classical HLA alleles. Thus, our data suggested that MIS-C is characterized by a polyclonal Vß21.3 T cell expansion not directed against SARS-CoV-2 antigenic peptides, which is not seen in KD, TSS and acute COVID-19.


Subject(s)
CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes/immunology , CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/pathology , Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, alpha-beta/immunology , Systemic Inflammatory Response Syndrome/immunology , Systemic Inflammatory Response Syndrome/pathology , Adult , Child , Child, Preschool , Cytokines/blood , HLA-DR Antigens/immunology , Humans , Lymphocyte Activation/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology
4.
Clin Exp Immunol ; 205(3): 363-378, 2021 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1249405

ABSTRACT

Since December 2019, Coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19) has spread rapidly throughout the world, leading to a global effort to develop vaccines and treatments. Despite extensive progress, there remains a need for treatments to bolster the immune responses in infected immunocompromised individuals, such as cancer patients who recently underwent a haematopoietic stem cell transplantation. Immunological protection against COVID-19 is mediated by both short-lived neutralizing antibodies and long-lasting virus-reactive T cells. Therefore, we propose that T cell therapy may augment efficacy of current treatments. For the greatest efficacy with minimal adverse effects, it is important that any cellular therapy is designed to be as specific and directed as possible. Here, we identify T cells from COVID-19 patients with a potentially protective response to two major antigens of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, Spike and Nucleocapsid protein. By generating clones of highly virus-reactive CD4+ T cells, we were able to confirm a set of nine immunodominant epitopes and characterize T cell responses against these. Accordingly, the sensitivity of T cell clones for their specific epitope, as well as the extent and focus of their cytokine response was examined. Moreover, using an advanced T cell receptor (TCR) sequencing approach, we determined the paired TCR-αß sequences of clones of interest. While these data on a limited population require further expansion for universal application, the results presented here form a crucial first step towards TCR-transgenic CD4+ T cell therapy of COVID-19.


Subject(s)
CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes/immunology , CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes/virology , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/therapy , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Amino Acid Sequence , CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes/immunology , CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes/virology , COVID-19/virology , Clone Cells/immunology , Clone Cells/virology , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/chemistry , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/genetics , Cytokines/biosynthesis , Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte/chemistry , Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte/genetics , Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte/immunology , Female , Humans , Immunization, Passive , Immunodominant Epitopes/chemistry , Immunodominant Epitopes/genetics , Immunodominant Epitopes/immunology , Male , Middle Aged , Phosphoproteins/chemistry , Phosphoproteins/genetics , Phosphoproteins/immunology , Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, alpha-beta/genetics , Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, alpha-beta/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/chemistry , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics
5.
Science ; 372(6548): 1336-1341, 2021 06 18.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1234278

ABSTRACT

The identification of CD4+ T cell epitopes is instrumental for the design of subunit vaccines for broad protection against coronaviruses. Here, we demonstrate in COVID-19-recovered individuals a robust CD4+ T cell response to naturally processed severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) spike (S) protein and nucleoprotein (N), including effector, helper, and memory T cells. By characterizing 2943 S-reactive T cell clones from 34 individuals, we found that the receptor-binding domain (RBD) is highly immunogenic and that 33% of RBD-reactive clones and 94% of individuals recognized a conserved immunodominant S346-S365 region comprising nested human leukocyte antigen DR (HLA-DR)- and HLA-DP-restricted epitopes. Using pre- and post-COVID-19 samples and S proteins from endemic coronaviruses, we identified cross-reactive T cells targeting multiple S protein sites. The immunodominant and cross-reactive epitopes identified can inform vaccination strategies to counteract emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants.


Subject(s)
CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , Immunodominant Epitopes , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Coronavirus/immunology , Cross Reactions , Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte/immunology , Genes, T-Cell Receptor beta , HLA-DP Antigens/immunology , HLA-DR Antigens/immunology , Humans , Immunologic Memory , Nucleocapsid Proteins/immunology , Protein Domains , Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, alpha-beta/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , T Follicular Helper Cells/immunology , T-Lymphocyte Subsets/immunology
6.
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
7.
J Leukoc Biol ; 111(1): 283-289, 2022 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1178997

ABSTRACT

The potential protective or pathogenic role of the adaptive immune response to SARS-CoV-2 infection has been vigorously debated. While COVID-19 patients consistently generate a T lymphocyte response to SARS-CoV-2 antigens, evidence of significant immune dysregulation in these patients continues to accumulate. In this study, next generation sequencing of the T cell receptor beta chain (TRB) repertoire was conducted in hospitalized COVID-19 patients to determine if immunogenetic differences of the TRB repertoire contribute to disease course severity. Clustering of highly similar TRB CDR3 amino acid sequences across COVID-19 patients yielded 781 shared TRB sequences. The TRB sequences were then filtered for known associations with common diseases such as EBV and CMV. The remaining sequences were cross-referenced to a publicly accessible dataset that mapped COVID-19 specific TCRs to the SARS-CoV-2 genome. We identified 158 SARS-CoV-2 specific TRB sequences belonging to 134 clusters in our COVID-19 patients. Next, we investigated 113 SARS-CoV-2 specific clusters binding only one peptide target in relation to disease course. Distinct skewing of SARS-CoV-2 specific TRB sequences toward the nonstructural proteins (NSPs) encoded within ORF1a/b of the SARS-CoV-2 genome was observed in clusters associated with critical disease course when compared to COVID-19 clusters associated with a severe disease course. These data imply that T-lymphocyte reactivity towards peptides from NSPs of SARS-CoV-2 may not constitute an effective adaptive immune response and thus may negatively affect disease severity.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/pathology , Hospitalization , Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, alpha-beta/immunology , Severity of Illness Index , Viral Proteins/immunology , Aged , Amino Acid Sequence , COVID-19/virology , Complementarity Determining Regions/immunology , Genome, Viral , Humans , Polyproteins/chemistry , Polyproteins/immunology , Polyproteins/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Time Factors , Viral Proteins/chemistry , Viral Proteins/metabolism
8.
J Clin Invest ; 131(10)2021 05 17.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1133410

ABSTRACT

Multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C), a hyperinflammatory syndrome associated with SARS-CoV-2 infection, shares clinical features with toxic shock syndrome, which is triggered by bacterial superantigens. Superantigen specificity for different Vß chains results in Vß skewing, whereby T cells with specific Vß chains and diverse antigen specificity are overrepresented in the T cell receptor (TCR) repertoire. Here, we characterized the TCR repertoire of MIS-C patients and found a profound expansion of TCRß variable gene 11-2 (TRBV11-2), with up to 24% of clonal T cell space occupied by TRBV11-2 T cells, which correlated with MIS-C severity and serum cytokine levels. Analysis of TRBJ gene usage and complementarity-determining region 3 (CDR3) length distribution of MIS-C expanded TRBV11-2 clones revealed extensive junctional diversity. Patients with TRBV11-2 expansion shared HLA class I alleles A02, B35, and C04, indicating what we believe is a novel mechanism for CDR3-independent T cell expansion. In silico modeling indicated that polyacidic residues in the Vß chain encoded by TRBV11-2 (Vß21.3) strongly interact with the superantigen-like motif of SARS-CoV-2 spike glycoprotein, suggesting that unprocessed SARS-CoV-2 spike may directly mediate TRBV11-2 expansion. Overall, our data indicate that a CDR3-independent interaction between SARS-CoV-2 spike and TCR leads to T cell expansion and possibly activation, which may account for the clinical presentation of MIS-C.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/immunology , Complementarity Determining Regions/immunology , Histocompatibility Antigens Class I/immunology , Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, alpha-beta/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Systemic Inflammatory Response Syndrome/immunology , T-Lymphocytes/immunology , COVID-19/genetics , Child , Complementarity Determining Regions/genetics , Female , Histocompatibility Antigens Class I/genetics , Humans , Male , Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, alpha-beta/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Systemic Inflammatory Response Syndrome/genetics
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