Dengue virus specific dual HLA binding T cell epitopes induce CD8+ T cell responses in seropositive individuals.

Hum Vaccin Immunother. 2014;10(12):3531-43. doi: 10.4161/21645515.2014.980210.

Comber JD1, Karabudak A, Huang X, Piazza PA, Marques ET, Philip R.

1a Immunotope Inc ; Doylestown , PA USA.


Dengue virus infects an estimated 300 million people each year and even more are at risk of becoming infected as the virus continues to spread into new areas. Despite the increase in viral prevalence, no anti-viral medications or vaccines are approved for treating or preventing infection. CD8+ T cell responses play a major role in viral clearance. Therefore, effective vaccines that induce a broad, multi-functional T cell response with substantial cross-reactivity between all virus serotypes can have major impacts on reducing infection rates and infection related complications. Here, we took an immunoproteomic approach to identify novel MHC class I restricted T cell epitopes presented by dengue virus infected cells, representing the natural and authentic targets of the T cell response. Using this approach we identified 4 novel MHC-I restricted epitopes: 2 with the binding motif for HLA-A24 molecules and 2 with both HLA-A2 and HLA-A24 binding motifs. These peptides were able to activate CD8+ T cell responses in both healthy, seronegative individuals and in seropositive individuals who have previously been infected with dengue virus. Importantly, the dual binding epitopes activated pre-existing T cell precursors in PBMCs obtained from both HLA-A2+ and HLA-A24+ seropositive individuals. Together, the data indicate that these epitopes are immunologically relevant T cell activating peptides presented on infected cells during a natural infection and therefore may serve as candidate antigens for the development of effective multi-serotype specific dengue virus vaccines.

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