Genome-Based In Silico Identification of New Mycobacterium tuberculosis Antigens Activating Polyfunctional CD8+ T Cells in Human Tuberculosis

Sheila Tuyet Tang, Krista E. van Meijgaarden, Nadia Caccamo, Giuliana Guggino, Michel R. Klein, Pascale van Weeren, Fatima Kazi, Anette Stryhn, Alexander Zaigler, Ugur Sahin, Søren Buus, Francesco Dieli, Ole Lund, Tom H. M. Ottenhoff

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


    Although CD8(+) T cells help control Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection, their M. tuberculosis Ag repertoire, in vivo frequency, and functionality in human tuberculosis (TB) remains largely undefined. We have performed genome-based bioinformatics searches to identify new M. tuberculosis epitopes presented by major HLA class I supertypes A2, A3, and B7 (covering 80% of the human population). A total of 432 M. tuberculosis peptides predicted to bind to HLA-A*0201, HLA-A*0301, and HLA-B*0702 (representing the above supertypes) were synthesized and HLA-binding affinities determined. Peptide-specific CD8(+) T cell proliferation assays (CFSE dilution) in 41 M. tuberculosis-responsive donors identified 70 new M. tuberculosis epitopes. Using HLA/peptide tetramers for the 18 most prominently recognized HLA-A*0201-binding M. tuberculosis peptides, recognition by cured TB patients' CD8(+) T cells was validated for all 18 epitopes. Intracellular cytokine staining for IFN-gamma, IL-2, and TNF-alpha revealed mono-, dual-, as well as triple-positive CD8(+) T cells, indicating these M. tuberculosis peptide-specific CD8(+) T cells were (poly) functional. Moreover, these T cells were primed during natural infection, because they were absent from M. tuberculosis-noninfected individuals. Control CMV peptide/HLA-A*0201 tetramers stained CD8(+) T cells in M. tuberculosis-infected and noninfected individuals equally, whereas Ebola peptide/HLA-A*0201 tetramers were negative. In conclusion, the M. tuberculosis-epitope/Ag repertoire for human CD8(+) T cells is much broader than hitherto suspected, and the newly identified M. tuberculosis Ags are recognized by (poly) functional CD8(+) T cells during control of infection. These results impact on TB-vaccine design and biomarker identification. The Journal of Immunology, 2011, 186: 1068-1080.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalJournal of Immunology
    Issue number2
    Pages (from-to)1068-1080
    Publication statusPublished - 2011


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