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1.
Viral Immunol ; 34(6): 416-420, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1475758

ABSTRACT

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), which has infected millions of individuals in the world. However, the long-term effect of SARS-CoV-2 on the organs of recovered patients remains unclear. This study is to evaluate the impact of SARS-CoV-2 on the spleen and T lymphocytes. Seventy-six patients recovered from COVID-19, including 66 cases of moderate pneumonia and 10 cases of severe pneumonia were enrolled in the observation group. The control group consisted of 55 age-matched healthy subjects. The thickness and length of spleen were measured by using B-ultrasound and the levels of T lymphocytes were detected by flow cytometry. Results showed that the mean length of spleen in the observation group was 89.57 ± 11.49 mm, which was significantly reduced compared with that in the control group (103.82 ± 11.29 mm, p < 0.001). The mean thicknesses of spleen between observation group and control group were 29.97 ± 4.04 mm and 32.45 ± 4.49 mm, respectively, and the difference was significant (p < 0.001). However, no significant difference was observed in the size of spleen between common pneumonia and severe pneumonia (p > 0.05). In addition, the decreased count of T lymphocyte was observed in part of recovered patients. The counts of T suppressor lymphocytes in patients with severe pneumonia were significantly decreased compared with those with moderate pneumonia (p = 0.005). Therefore, these data indicate that SARS-CoV-2 infection affects the size of spleen and T lymphocytes.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/immunology , SARS-CoV-2 , Spleen/pathology , T-Lymphocytes/immunology , Adult , Aged , Female , Humans , Lymphocyte Count , Male , Middle Aged , Young Adult
2.
J Infect Dis ; 224(6): 956-966, 2021 09 17.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1429243

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) continues to be a major public health challenge globally. The identification of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)-derived T-cell epitopes is of critical importance for peptide vaccines or diagnostic tools of COVID-19. METHODS: In this study, several SARS-CoV-2-derived human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-I binding peptides were predicted by NetMHCpan-4.1 and selected by Popcover to achieve pancoverage of the Chinese population. The top 5 ranked peptides derived from each protein of SARS-CoV-2 were then evaluated using peripheral blood mononuclear cells from unexposed individuals (negative for SARS-CoV-2 immunoglobulin G). RESULTS: Seven epitopes derived from 4 SARS-CoV-2 proteins were identified. It is interesting to note that most (5 of 7) of the SARS-CoV-2-derived peptides with predicted affinities for HLA-I molecules were identified as HLA-II-restricted epitopes and induced CD4+ T cell-dependent responses. These results complete missing pieces of pre-existing SARS-CoV-2-specific T cells and suggest that pre-existing T cells targeting all SARS-CoV-2-encoded proteins can be discovered in unexposed populations. CONCLUSIONS: In summary, in the current study, we present an alternative and effective strategy for the identification of T-cell epitopes of SARS-CoV-2 in healthy subjects, which may indicate an important role in the development of peptide vaccines for COVID-19.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte/immunology , Vaccines, Subunit/immunology , CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes/immunology , CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes/immunology , Cell Line , Humans , Leukocytes, Mononuclear/immunology , SARS-CoV-2
3.
Sci Immunol ; 6(60)2021 06 18.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1276879

ABSTRACT

The nutrient-sensing mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) is integral to cell fate decisions after T cell activation. Sustained mTORC1 activity favors the generation of terminally differentiated effector T cells instead of follicular helper and memory T cells. This is particularly pertinent for T cell responses of older adults who have sustained mTORC1 activation despite dysfunctional lysosomes. Here, we show that lysosome-deficient T cells rely on late endosomes rather than lysosomes as an mTORC1 activation platform, where mTORC1 is activated by sensing cytosolic amino acids. T cells from older adults have an increased expression of the plasma membrane leucine transporter SLC7A5 to provide a cytosolic amino acid source. Hence, SLC7A5 and VPS39 deficiency (a member of the HOPS complex promoting early to late endosome conversion) substantially reduced mTORC1 activities in T cells from older but not young individuals. Late endosomal mTORC1 is independent of the negative-feedback loop involving mTORC1-induced inactivation of the transcription factor TFEB that controls expression of lysosomal genes. The resulting sustained mTORC1 activation impaired lysosome function and prevented lysosomal degradation of PD-1 in CD4+ T cells from older adults, thereby inhibiting their proliferative responses. VPS39 silencing of human T cells improved their expansion to pertussis and to SARS-CoV-2 peptides in vitro. Furthermore, adoptive transfer of CD4+ Vps39-deficient LCMV-specific SMARTA cells improved germinal center responses, CD8+ memory T cell generation, and recall responses to infection. Thus, curtailing late endosomal mTORC1 activity is a promising strategy to enhance T cell immunity.


Subject(s)
CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes/immunology , CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , Endosomes/metabolism , Mechanistic Target of Rapamycin Complex 1/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Signal Transduction/genetics , Adoptive Transfer/methods , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Animals , Autophagy-Related Proteins/deficiency , Autophagy-Related Proteins/genetics , Basic Helix-Loop-Helix Leucine Zipper Transcription Factors/genetics , Basic Helix-Loop-Helix Leucine Zipper Transcription Factors/metabolism , COVID-19/virology , Cells, Cultured , Female , Forkhead Box Protein O1/deficiency , Forkhead Box Protein O1/genetics , Healthy Volunteers , Humans , Large Neutral Amino Acid-Transporter 1/metabolism , Lysosomes/metabolism , Male , Mice , Mice, Inbred C57BL , Mice, Transgenic , Signal Transduction/immunology , Transfection , Vesicular Transport Proteins/deficiency , Vesicular Transport Proteins/genetics , Young Adult
4.
Cell Rep Med ; 2(6): 100312, 2021 06 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1275763

ABSTRACT

Knowledge of the epitopes of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) targeted by T cells in recovered (convalescent) individuals is important for understanding T cell immunity against coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). This information can aid development and assessment of COVID-19 vaccines and inform novel diagnostic technologies. Here, we provide a unified description and meta-analysis of SARS-CoV-2 T cell epitopes compiled from 18 studies of cohorts of individuals recovered from COVID-19 (852 individuals in total). Our analysis demonstrates the broad diversity of T cell epitopes that have been recorded for SARS-CoV-2. A large majority are seemingly unaffected by current variants of concern. We identify a set of 20 immunoprevalent epitopes that induced T cell responses in multiple cohorts and in a large fraction of tested individuals. The landscape of SARS-CoV-2 T cell epitopes we describe can help guide immunological studies, including those related to vaccines and diagnostics. A web-based platform has been developed to help complement these efforts.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/immunology , Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte/metabolism , Amino Acid Sequence , COVID-19/pathology , COVID-19/virology , Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte/chemistry , Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte/immunology , HLA Antigens/genetics , Humans , Immunity , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , T-Lymphocytes/cytology , T-Lymphocytes/immunology , T-Lymphocytes/metabolism
5.
Cell Rep ; 35(13): 109320, 2021 06 29.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1275189

ABSTRACT

Memory B cells seem to be more durable than antibodies and thus crucial for the long-term immunity against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection. Here we investigate SARS-CoV-2 spike-specific memory B cells and their dependence on CD4+ T cell help in different settings of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Compared with severely ill individuals, those who recovered from mild COVID-19 develop fewer but functionally superior spike-specific memory B cells. Generation and affinity maturation of these cells is best associated with IL-21+CD4+ T cells in recovered individuals and CD40L+CD4+ T cells in severely ill individuals. The increased activation and exhaustion of memory B cells observed during COVID-19 correlates with CD4+ T cell functions. Intriguingly, CD4+ T cells recognizing membrane protein show a stronger association with spike-specific memory B cells than those recognizing spike or nucleocapsid proteins. Overall, we identify CD4+ T cell subsets associated with the generation of B cell memory during SARS-CoV-2 infection.


Subject(s)
B-Lymphocytes/immunology , CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , CD40 Ligand/immunology , CD40 Ligand/metabolism , Cross Reactions , Humans , Immunologic Memory , Interleukins/immunology , Interleukins/metabolism
6.
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
7.
NPJ Vaccines ; 6(1): 71, 2021 May 13.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1228257

ABSTRACT

Natural and vaccine-induced SARS-CoV-2 immunity in humans has been described but correlates of protection are not yet defined. T cells support the SARS-CoV-2 antibody response, clear virus-infected cells, and may be required to block transmission. In this study, we identified peptide epitopes associated with SARS-CoV-2 T-cell immunity. Using immunoinformatic methods, T-cell epitopes from spike, membrane, and envelope were selected for maximal HLA-binding potential, coverage of HLA diversity, coverage of circulating virus, and minimal potential cross-reactivity with self. Direct restimulation of PBMCs collected from SARS-CoV-2 convalescents confirmed 66% of predicted epitopes, whereas only 9% were confirmed in naive individuals. However, following a brief period of epitope-specific T-cell expansion, both cohorts demonstrated robust T-cell responses to 97% of epitopes. HLA-DR3 transgenic mouse immunization with peptides co-formulated with poly-ICLC generated a potent Th1-skewed, epitope-specific memory response, alleviating safety concerns of enhanced respiratory disease associated with Th2 induction. Taken together, these epitopes may be used to improve our understanding of natural and vaccine-induced immunity, and to facilitate the development of T-cell-targeted vaccines that harness pre-existing SARS-CoV-2 immunity.

8.
J Immunol ; 206(11): 2527-2535, 2021 06 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1227097

ABSTRACT

The T cell response is an important detection index in severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) vaccine development. The present study was undertaken to determine the T cell epitopes in the spike (S) protein of SARS-CoV-2 that dominate the T cell responses in SARS-CoV-2-infected patients. PBMCs from rhesus macaques vaccinated with a DNA vaccine encoding the full-length S protein were isolated, and an ELISPOT assay was used to identify the recognized T cell epitopes among a total of 158 18-mer and 10-aa-overlapping peptides spanning the full-length S protein. Six multipeptide-based epitopes located in the S1 region, with four of the six located in the receptor-binding domain, were defined as the most frequently recognized epitopes in macaques. The conservation of the epitopes across species was also verified, and peptide mixtures for T cell response detection were established. Six newly defined T cell epitopes were found in the current study, which may provide a novel potential target for T cell response detection and the diagnosis and vaccine design of SARS-CoV-2 based on multipeptide subunit-based epitopes.


Subject(s)
Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Animals , Macaca mulatta
9.
Can J Infect Dis Med Microbiol ; 2021: 6627141, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1201679

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 (Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2) is a newly emerged beta coronavirus and etiolating agent of COVID-19. Considering the unprecedented increasing number of COVID-19 cases, the World Health Organization declared a public health emergency internationally on 11th March 2020. However, existing drugs are insufficient in dealing with this contagious virus infection; therefore, a vaccine is exigent to curb this pandemic disease. In the present study, B- and T-cell immune epitopes were identified for RdRp (RNA-dependent RNA polymerase) protein using immunoinformatic techniques, which is proved to be a rapid and efficient method to explore the candidate peptide vaccine. Subsequently, antigenicity and interactions with HLA (human leukocyte antigen) alleles were estimated. Further, physicochemical properties, allergenicity, toxicity, and stability of RdRp protein were evaluated to demonstrate the specificity of the epitope candidates. Interestingly, we identified a total of 36 B-cell and 16 T-cell epitopes using epitopes predictive tools. Among the predicted epitopes, 26 B-cell and 9 T-cell epitopes showed non-allergenic, non-toxic, and highly antigenic properties. Altogether, our study revealed that RdRp of SARS-CoV-2 (an epitope-based peptide fragment) can be a potentially good candidate for the development of a vaccine against SARS-CoV-2.

10.
J Virol ; 95(6)2021 02 24.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1150200

ABSTRACT

Developing optimal T-cell response assays to severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus type 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is critical for measuring the duration of immunity to this disease and assessing the efficacy of vaccine candidates. These assays need to target conserved regions of SARS-CoV-2 global variants and avoid cross-reactivity to seasonal human coronaviruses. To contribute to this effort, we employed an in silico immunoinformatics analysis pipeline to identify immunogenic peptides resulting from conserved and highly networked regions with topological importance from the SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid and spike proteins. A total of 57 highly networked T-cell epitopes that are conserved across geographic viral variants were identified from these viral proteins, with a binding potential to diverse HLA alleles and 80 to 100% global population coverage. Importantly, 18 of these T-cell epitope derived peptides had limited homology to seasonal human coronaviruses making them promising candidates for SARS-CoV-2-specific T-cell immunity assays. Moreover, two of the NC-derived peptides elicited effector/polyfunctional responses of CD8+ T cells derived from SARS-CoV-2 convalescent patients.IMPORTANCE The development of specific and validated immunologic tools is critical for understanding the level and duration of the cellular response induced by SARS-CoV-2 infection and/or vaccines against this novel coronavirus disease. To contribute to this effort, we employed an immunoinformatics analysis pipeline to define 57 SARS-CoV-2 immunogenic peptides within topologically important regions of the nucleocapsid (NC) and spike (S) proteins that will be effective for detecting cellular immune responses in 80 to 100% of the global population. Our immunoinformatics analysis revealed that 18 of these peptides had limited homology to circulating seasonal human coronaviruses and therefore are promising candidates for distinguishing SARS-CoV-2-specific immune responses from pre-existing coronavirus immunity. Importantly, CD8+ T cells derived from SARS-CoV-2 survivors exhibited polyfunctional effector responses to two novel NC-derived peptides identified as HLA-binders. These studies provide a proof of concept that our immunoinformatics analysis pipeline identifies novel immunogens which can elicit polyfunctional SARS-CoV-2-specific T-cell responses.


Subject(s)
CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes/immunology , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/immunology , Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Amino Acid Sequence , Antigen Presentation , COVID-19/blood , COVID-19/immunology , Computational Biology , Coronavirus/classification , Coronavirus/immunology , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/chemistry , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/genetics , Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte/chemistry , Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte/genetics , HLA Antigens/immunology , Humans , Immunity, Cellular , Mutation , Phosphoproteins/chemistry , Phosphoproteins/genetics , Phosphoproteins/immunology , Protein Binding , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Species Specificity , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics
11.
Am J Transplant ; 21(8): 2749-2761, 2021 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1147230

ABSTRACT

The description of protective humoral and T cell immune responses specific against SARS-CoV-2 has been reported among immunocompetent (IC) individuals developing COVID-19 infection. However, its characterization and determinants of poorer outcomes among the at-risk solid organ transplant (SOT) patient population have not been thoroughly investigated. Cytokine-producing T cell responses, such as IFN-γ, IL-2, IFN-γ/IL-2, IL-6, IL-21, and IL-5, against main immunogenic SARS-CoV-2 antigens and IgM/IgG serological immunity were tracked in SOT (n = 28) during acute infection and at two consecutive time points over the following 40 days of convalescence and were compared to matched IC (n = 16) patients admitted with similar moderate/severe COVID-19. We describe the development of a robust serological and functional T cell immune responses against SARS-CoV-2 among SOT patients, similar to IC patients during early convalescence. However, at the infection onset, SOT displayed lower IgG seroconversion rates (77% vs. 100%; p = .044), despite no differences on IgG titers, and a trend toward decreased SARS-CoV-2-reactive T cell frequencies, especially against the membrane protein (7 [0-34] vs. 113 [15-245], p = .011, 2 [0-9] vs. 45 [5-74], p = .009, and 0 [0-2] vs. 13 [1-24], p = .020, IFN-γ, IL-2, and IFN-γ/IL-2 spots, respectively). In summary, our data suggest that despite a certain initial delay, SOT population achieve comparable functional immune responses than the general population after moderate/severe COVID-19.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Organ Transplantation , Antibodies, Viral , Antibody Formation , Convalescence , Humans , SARS-CoV-2 , T-Lymphocytes
12.
Front Cell Dev Biol ; 9: 620730, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1133896

ABSTRACT

Syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic is causing a second outbreak significantly delaying the hope for the virus' complete eradication. In the absence of effective vaccines, we need effective treatments with low adverse effects that can treat hospitalized patients with COVID-19 disease. In this study, we determined the existence of SARS-CoV-2-specific T cells within CD45RA- memory T cells in the blood of convalescent donors. Memory T cells can respond quickly to infection and provide long-term immune protection to reduce the severity of COVID-19 symptoms. Also, CD45RA- memory T cells confer protection from other pathogens encountered by the donors throughout their life. It is of vital importance to resolve other secondary infections that usually develop in patients hospitalized with COVID-19. We found SARS-CoV-2-specific memory T cells in all of the CD45RA- subsets (CD3+, CD4+, and CD8+) and in the central memory and effector memory subpopulations. The procedure for obtaining these cells is feasible, easy to implement for small-scale manufacture, quick and cost-effective, involves minimal manipulation, and has no GMP requirements. This biobank of specific SARS-CoV-2 memory T cells would be immediately available "off-the-shelf" to treat moderate/severe cases of COVID-19, thereby increasing the therapeutic options available for these patients.

13.
Front Immunol ; 12: 627285, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1120044

ABSTRACT

Introduction: Cross-reactivity to SARS-CoV-2 antigenic peptides has been detected on T-cells from pre-pandemic donors due to recognition of conserved protein fragments within members of the coronavirus's family. Further, preexisting antibodies recognizing SARS-CoV-2 with conserved epitopes in the spike region have been now seen in uninfected individuals. High-dose Intravenous Immunoglobulin (IVIg), derived from thousands of healthy donors, contains natural IgG antibodies against various antigens which can be detected both within the IVIg preparations and in the serum of IVIg-receiving patients. Whether IVIg preparations from pre-pandemic donors also contain antibodies against pre-pandemic coronaviruses or autoreactive antibodies that cross-react with SARS-CoV-2 antigenic epitopes, is unknown. Methods: 13 samples from 5 commercial IVIg preparations from pre-pandemic donors (HyQvia (Baxalta Innovations GmbH); Privigen (CSL Behring); Intratect (Biotest AG); IgVena (Kedrion S.p.A); and Flebogamma (Grifols S.A.) were blindly screened using a semi-quantitative FDA-approved and validated enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) (Euroimmun, Lubeck, Germany). Results: Nine of thirteen preparations (69.2%), all from two different manufactures, were antibody-positive based on the defined cut-off positivity (index of sample OD to calibrator OD > 1.1). From one manufacturer, 7/7 lots (100%) and from another 2/3 lots (67%), tested positive for cross-reacting antibodies. 7/9 of the positive preparations (77%) had titers as seen in asymptomatically infected individuals or recent COVID19-recovered patients, while 2/9 (23%) had higher titers, comparable to those seen in patients with active symptomatic COVID-19 infection (index > 2.2). Conclusion: Pre-pandemic IVIg donors have either natural autoantibodies or pre-pandemic cross-reactive antibodies against antigenic protein fragments conserved among the "common cold" - related coronaviruses. The findings are important in: (a) assessing true anti-SARS-CoV-2-IgG seroprevalence avoiding false positivity in IVIg-receiving patients; (b) exploring potential protective benefits in patients with immune-mediated conditions and immunodeficiencies receiving acute or chronic maintenance IVIg therapy, and (c) validating data from a recent controlled study that showed significantly lower in-hospital mortality in the IVIg- treated group.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Viral/immunology , Autoimmunity , COVID-19/immunology , Immunoglobulins, Intravenous/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Seasons , COVID-19/epidemiology , Cross Reactions , Epitopes/immunology , Humans , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology
14.
Vaccines (Basel) ; 9(2)2021 Feb 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1085034

ABSTRACT

To successfully protect against pathogen infection, a vaccine must elicit efficient adaptive immunity, including B and T cell responses. While B cell responses are key, as they can mediate antibody-dependent protection, T cells can modulate B cell activity and directly contribute to the elimination of pathogen-infected cells. In the unprecedented race to develop an effective vaccine for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the causative agent of the respiratory disease coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines have emerged as front runners thanks to their capacity for rapid development and ability to drive potent adaptive immune responses. In this review article, we provide an overview of the results from pre-clinical studies in animal models as well as clinical studies in humans that assessed the efficacy of SARS-CoV-2 mRNA vaccines, with a primary focus on adaptive immune responses post vaccination.

15.
J Biomol Struct Dyn ; : 1-26, 2021 Feb 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1081511

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the most cryptic pandemic outbreak of the 21st century, has gripped more than 1.8 million people to death and infected almost eighty six million. As it is a new variant of SARS, there is no approved drug or vaccine available against this virus. This study aims to predict some promising cytotoxic T lymphocyte epitopes in the SARS-CoV-2 proteome utilizing immunoinformatic approaches. Firstly, we identified 21 epitopes from 7 different proteins of SARS-CoV-2 inducing immune response and checked for allergenicity and conservancy. Based on these factors, we selected the top three epitopes, namely KAYNVTQAF, ATSRTLSYY, and LTALRLCAY showing functional interactions with the maximum number of MHC alleles and no allergenicity. Secondly, the 3D model of selected epitopes and HLA-A*29:02 were built and Molecular Docking simulation was performed. Most interestingly, the best two epitopes predicted by docking are part of two different structural proteins of SARS-CoV-2, namely Membrane Glycoprotein (ATSRTLSYY) and Nucleocapsid Phosphoprotein (KAYNVTQAF), which are generally target of choice for vaccine designing. Upon Molecular Docking, interactions between selected epitopes and HLA-A*29:02 were further validated by 50 ns Molecular Dynamics (MD) simulation. Analysis of RMSD, Rg, SASA, number of hydrogen bonds, RMSF, MM-PBSA, PCA, and DCCM from MD suggested that ATSRTLSYY is the most stable and promising epitope than KAYNVTQAF epitope. Moreover, we also identified B-cell epitopes for each of the antigenic proteins of SARS CoV-2. Findings of our work will be a good resource for wet lab experiments and will lessen the timeline for vaccine construction.Communicated by Ramaswamy H. Sarma.

16.
Adv Drug Deliv Rev ; 171: 29-47, 2021 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1064698

ABSTRACT

Growing evidence suggests that T cells may play a critical role in combating severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Hence, COVID-19 vaccines that can elicit a robust T cell response may be particularly important. The design, development and experimental evaluation of such vaccines is aided by an understanding of the landscape of T cell epitopes of SARS-CoV-2, which is largely unknown. Due to the challenges of identifying epitopes experimentally, many studies have proposed the use of in silico methods. Here, we present a review of the in silico methods that have been used for the prediction of SARS-CoV-2 T cell epitopes. These methods employ a diverse set of technical approaches, often rooted in machine learning. A performance comparison is provided based on the ability to identify a specific set of immunogenic epitopes that have been determined experimentally to be targeted by T cells in convalescent COVID-19 patients, shedding light on the relative performance merits of the different approaches adopted by the in silico studies. The review also puts forward perspectives for future research directions.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines/metabolism , COVID-19/metabolism , Computer Simulation , Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Animals , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19 Vaccines/administration & dosage , COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , Computer Simulation/trends , Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte/immunology , Humans , SARS-CoV-2/immunology
17.
Nat Immunol ; 22(1): 74-85, 2021 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1065902

ABSTRACT

T cell immunity is central for the control of viral infections. To characterize T cell immunity, but also for the development of vaccines, identification of exact viral T cell epitopes is fundamental. Here we identify and characterize multiple dominant and subdominant SARS-CoV-2 HLA class I and HLA-DR peptides as potential T cell epitopes in COVID-19 convalescent and unexposed individuals. SARS-CoV-2-specific peptides enabled detection of post-infectious T cell immunity, even in seronegative convalescent individuals. Cross-reactive SARS-CoV-2 peptides revealed pre-existing T cell responses in 81% of unexposed individuals and validated similarity with common cold coronaviruses, providing a functional basis for heterologous immunity in SARS-CoV-2 infection. Diversity of SARS-CoV-2 T cell responses was associated with mild symptoms of COVID-19, providing evidence that immunity requires recognition of multiple epitopes. Together, the proposed SARS-CoV-2 T cell epitopes enable identification of heterologous and post-infectious T cell immunity and facilitate development of diagnostic, preventive and therapeutic measures for COVID-19.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/immunology , Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte/immunology , Peptides/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , T-Lymphocytes/immunology , Viral Vaccines/immunology , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19/virology , Cross Reactions/immunology , HLA-DR Antigens/immunology , HLA-DR Antigens/metabolism , Histocompatibility Antigens Class I/immunology , Histocompatibility Antigens Class I/metabolism , Humans , Immunologic Memory/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , T-Lymphocytes/metabolism , Viral Vaccines/administration & dosage
18.
Clin Transl Immunology ; 9(12): e1227, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1037499

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES: Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccination has been implicated in protection against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) and as a non-specific immunisation method against the virus. We therefore decided to investigate T-cell and B-cell epitopes within the BCG-Pasteur strain proteome for similarity to immunogenic peptides of SARS-CoV-2. METHODS: We used NetMHC 4.0 and BepiPred 2.0 epitope prediction methods for the analysis of the BCG-Pasteur proteome to identify similar peptides to established and novel SARS-CoV-2 T-cell and B-cell epitopes. RESULTS: We found 112 BCG MHC-I-restricted T-cell epitopes similar to MHC-I-restricted T-cell SARS-CoV-2 epitopes and 690 BCG B-cell epitopes similar to SARS-CoV-2 B-cell epitopes. The SARS-CoV-2 T-cell epitopes represented 16 SARS-CoV-2 proteins, and the SARS-CoV-2 B-cell epitopes represented 5 SARS-CoV-2 proteins, including the receptor binding domain of the spike glycoprotein. CONCLUSION: Altogether, our results provide a mechanistic basis for the potential cross-reactive adaptive immunity that may exist between the two microorganisms.

19.
J Virol ; 95(6)2021 02 24.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1029175

ABSTRACT

Developing optimal T-cell response assays to severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus type 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is critical for measuring the duration of immunity to this disease and assessing the efficacy of vaccine candidates. These assays need to target conserved regions of SARS-CoV-2 global variants and avoid cross-reactivity to seasonal human coronaviruses. To contribute to this effort, we employed an in silico immunoinformatics analysis pipeline to identify immunogenic peptides resulting from conserved and highly networked regions with topological importance from the SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid and spike proteins. A total of 57 highly networked T-cell epitopes that are conserved across geographic viral variants were identified from these viral proteins, with a binding potential to diverse HLA alleles and 80 to 100% global population coverage. Importantly, 18 of these T-cell epitope derived peptides had limited homology to seasonal human coronaviruses making them promising candidates for SARS-CoV-2-specific T-cell immunity assays. Moreover, two of the NC-derived peptides elicited effector/polyfunctional responses of CD8+ T cells derived from SARS-CoV-2 convalescent patients.IMPORTANCE The development of specific and validated immunologic tools is critical for understanding the level and duration of the cellular response induced by SARS-CoV-2 infection and/or vaccines against this novel coronavirus disease. To contribute to this effort, we employed an immunoinformatics analysis pipeline to define 57 SARS-CoV-2 immunogenic peptides within topologically important regions of the nucleocapsid (NC) and spike (S) proteins that will be effective for detecting cellular immune responses in 80 to 100% of the global population. Our immunoinformatics analysis revealed that 18 of these peptides had limited homology to circulating seasonal human coronaviruses and therefore are promising candidates for distinguishing SARS-CoV-2-specific immune responses from pre-existing coronavirus immunity. Importantly, CD8+ T cells derived from SARS-CoV-2 survivors exhibited polyfunctional effector responses to two novel NC-derived peptides identified as HLA-binders. These studies provide a proof of concept that our immunoinformatics analysis pipeline identifies novel immunogens which can elicit polyfunctional SARS-CoV-2-specific T-cell responses.


Subject(s)
CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes/immunology , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/immunology , Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Amino Acid Sequence , Antigen Presentation , COVID-19/blood , COVID-19/immunology , Computational Biology , Coronavirus/classification , Coronavirus/immunology , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/chemistry , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/genetics , Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte/chemistry , Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte/genetics , HLA Antigens/immunology , Humans , Immunity, Cellular , Mutation , Phosphoproteins/chemistry , Phosphoproteins/genetics , Phosphoproteins/immunology , Protein Binding , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Species Specificity , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics
20.
Nature ; 590(7847): 635-641, 2021 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1019856

ABSTRACT

Some patients infected with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) develop severe pneumonia and acute respiratory distress syndrome1 (ARDS). Distinct clinical features in these patients have led to speculation that the immune response to virus in the SARS-CoV-2-infected alveolus differs from that in other types of pneumonia2. Here we investigate SARS-CoV-2 pathobiology by characterizing the immune response in the alveoli of patients infected with the virus. We collected bronchoalveolar lavage fluid samples from 88 patients with SARS-CoV-2-induced respiratory failure and 211 patients with known or suspected pneumonia from other pathogens, and analysed them using flow cytometry and bulk transcriptomic profiling. We performed single-cell RNA sequencing on 10 bronchoalveolar lavage fluid samples collected from patients with severe coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) within 48 h of intubation. In the majority of patients with SARS-CoV-2 infection, the alveolar space was persistently enriched in T cells and monocytes. Bulk and single-cell transcriptomic profiling suggested that SARS-CoV-2 infects alveolar macrophages, which in turn respond by producing T cell chemoattractants. These T cells produce interferon-γ to induce inflammatory cytokine release from alveolar macrophages and further promote T cell activation. Collectively, our results suggest that SARS-CoV-2 causes a slowly unfolding, spatially limited alveolitis in which alveolar macrophages containing SARS-CoV-2 and T cells form a positive feedback loop that drives persistent alveolar inflammation.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/virology , Macrophages, Alveolar/immunology , Pneumonia, Viral/immunology , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , T-Lymphocytes/immunology , Bronchoalveolar Lavage Fluid/chemistry , Bronchoalveolar Lavage Fluid/immunology , COVID-19/genetics , Cohort Studies , Humans , Interferon-gamma/immunology , Interferons/immunology , Interferons/metabolism , Macrophages, Alveolar/metabolism , Macrophages, Alveolar/virology , Pneumonia, Viral/genetics , RNA-Seq , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Signal Transduction/immunology , Single-Cell Analysis , T-Lymphocytes/metabolism , Time Factors
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