Publications by authors named "Carolien E van de Sandt"

28 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

CD8 T cell landscape in Indigenous and non-Indigenous people restricted by influenza mortality-associated HLA-A*24:02 allomorph.

Nat Commun 2021 05 18;12(1):2931. Epub 2021 May 18.

Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology & Infection and Immunity Program, Biomedicine Discovery Institute, Monash University, Clayton, VIC, Australia.

Indigenous people worldwide are at high risk of developing severe influenza disease. HLA-A*24:02 allele, highly prevalent in Indigenous populations, is associated with influenza-induced mortality, although the basis for this association is unclear. Here, we define CD8 T-cell immune landscapes against influenza A (IAV) and B (IBV) viruses in HLA-A*24:02-expressing Indigenous and non-Indigenous individuals, human tissues, influenza-infected patients and HLA-A*24:02-transgenic mice. We identify immunodominant protective CD8 T-cell epitopes, one towards IAV and six towards IBV, with A24/PB2-specific CD8 T cells being cross-reactive between IAV and IBV. Memory CD8 T cells towards these specificities are present in blood (CD27CD45RA phenotype) and tissues (CD103CD69 phenotype) of healthy individuals, and effector CD27CD45RAPD-1CD38CD8 T cells in IAV/IBV patients. Our data show influenza-specific CD8 T-cell responses in Indigenous Australians, and advocate for T-cell-mediated vaccines that target and boost the breadth of IAV/IBV-specific CD8 T cells to protect high-risk HLA-A*24:02-expressing Indigenous and non-Indigenous populations from severe influenza disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-021-23212-xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8132304PMC
May 2021

Immune cellular networks underlying recovery from influenza virus infection in acute hospitalized patients.

Nat Commun 2021 05 11;12(1):2691. Epub 2021 May 11.

Department of Biochemistry and Genetics, La Trobe Institute For Molecular Science, La Trobe University, Bundoora, VIC, Australia.

How innate and adaptive immune responses work in concert to resolve influenza disease is yet to be fully investigated in one single study. Here, we utilize longitudinal samples from patients hospitalized with acute influenza to understand these immune responses. We report the dynamics of 18 important immune parameters, related to clinical, genetic and virological factors, in influenza patients across different severity levels. Influenza disease correlates with increases in IL-6/IL-8/MIP-1α/β cytokines and lower antibody responses. Robust activation of circulating T follicular helper cells correlates with peak antibody-secreting cells and influenza heamaglutinin-specific memory B-cell numbers, which phenotypically differs from vaccination-induced B-cell responses. Numbers of influenza-specific CD8 or CD4 T cells increase early in disease and retain an activated phenotype during patient recovery. We report the characterisation of immune cellular networks underlying recovery from influenza infection which are highly relevant to other infectious diseases.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-021-23018-xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8113517PMC
May 2021

CD8 T cells specific for an immunodominant SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid epitope display high naive precursor frequency and TCR promiscuity.

Immunity 2021 05 15;54(5):1066-1082.e5. Epub 2021 Apr 15.

Department of Infectious Diseases, Austin Hospital, Heidelberg, VIC 3084, Australia; Department of Medicine and Radiology, The University of Melbourne, Parkville, VIC 3000, Australia; Data Analytics Research and Evaluation (DARE) Centre, Austin Health and The University of Melbourne, Heidelberg, VIC 3084, Australia.

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/N, A2/S, and A24/S) CD8 T cells specific for the immunodominant B7/N 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 TCRαβ repertoires and promiscuous αβ-TCR pairing within B7/NCD8 T cells. Our study demonstrates high naive precursor frequency and TCRαβ diversity within immunodominant B7/N-specific CD8 T cells and provides insight into SARS-CoV-2-specific T cell origins and subsequent responses.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.immuni.2021.04.009DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8049468PMC
May 2021

Systems serology detects functionally distinct coronavirus antibody features in children and elderly.

Nat Commun 2021 04 1;12(1):2037. Epub 2021 Apr 1.

Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, VIC, Australia.

The hallmarks of COVID-19 are higher pathogenicity and mortality in the elderly compared to children. Examining baseline SARS-CoV-2 cross-reactive immunological responses, induced by circulating human coronaviruses (hCoVs), is needed to understand such divergent clinical outcomes. Here we show analysis of coronavirus antibody responses of pre-pandemic healthy children (n = 89), adults (n = 98), elderly (n = 57), and COVID-19 patients (n = 50) by systems serology. Moderate levels of cross-reactive, but non-neutralizing, SARS-CoV-2 antibodies are detected in pre-pandemic healthy individuals. SARS-CoV-2 antigen-specific Fcγ receptor binding accurately distinguishes COVID-19 patients from healthy individuals, suggesting that SARS-CoV-2 infection induces qualitative changes to antibody Fc, enhancing Fcγ receptor engagement. Higher cross-reactive SARS-CoV-2 IgA and IgG are observed in healthy elderly, while healthy children display elevated SARS-CoV-2 IgM, suggesting that children have fewer hCoV exposures, resulting in less-experienced but more polyreactive humoral immunity. Age-dependent analysis of COVID-19 patients, confirms elevated class-switched antibodies in elderly, while children have stronger Fc responses which we demonstrate are functionally different. These insights will inform COVID-19 vaccination strategies, improved serological diagnostics and therapeutics.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-021-22236-7DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8016934PMC
April 2021

Robust correlations across six SARS-CoV-2 serology assays detecting distinct antibody features.

Clin Transl Immunology 2021 28;10(3):e1258. Epub 2021 Feb 28.

Department of Microbiology and Immunology University of Melbourne, at the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity Melbourne VIC Australia.

Objectives: As the world transitions into a new era of the COVID-19 pandemic in which vaccines become available, there is an increasing demand for rapid reliable serological testing to identify individuals with levels of immunity considered protective by infection or vaccination.

Methods: We used 34 SARS-CoV-2 samples to perform a rapid surrogate virus neutralisation test (sVNT), applicable to many laboratories as it circumvents the need for biosafety level-3 containment. We correlated results from the sVNT with five additional commonly used SARS-CoV-2 serology techniques: the microneutralisation test (MNT), in-house ELISAs, commercial Euroimmun- and Wantai-based ELISAs (RBD, spike and nucleoprotein; IgG, IgA and IgM), antigen-binding avidity, and high-throughput multiplex analyses to profile isotype, subclass and Fc effector binding potential. We correlated antibody levels with antibody-secreting cell (ASC) and circulatory T follicular helper (cTfh) cell numbers.

Results: Antibody data obtained with commercial ELISAs closely reflected results using in-house ELISAs against RBD and spike. A correlation matrix across ten measured ELISA parameters revealed positive correlations for all factors. The frequency of inhibition by rapid sVNT strongly correlated with spike-specific IgG and IgA titres detected by both commercial and in-house ELISAs, and MNT titres. Multiplex analyses revealed strongest correlations between IgG, IgG1, FcR and C1q specific to spike and RBD. Acute cTfh-type 1 cell numbers correlated with spike and RBD-specific IgG antibodies measured by ELISAs and sVNT.

Conclusion: Our comprehensive analyses provide important insights into SARS-CoV-2 humoral immunity across distinct serology assays and their applicability for specific research and/or diagnostic questions to assess SARS-CoV-2-specific humoral responses.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/cti2.1258DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7916820PMC
February 2021

Integrated immune dynamics define correlates of COVID-19 severity and antibody responses.

Cell Rep Med 2021 Mar 5;2(3):100208. Epub 2021 Feb 5.

Department of Medicine, Central Clinical School, Monash University, Melbourne, VIC, Australia.

SARS-CoV-2 causes a spectrum of COVID-19 disease, the immunological basis of which remains ill defined. We analyzed 85 SARS-CoV-2-infected individuals at acute and/or convalescent time points, up to 102 days after symptom onset, quantifying 184 immunological parameters. Acute COVID-19 presented with high levels of IL-6, IL-18, and IL-10 and broad activation marked by the upregulation of CD38 on innate and adaptive lymphocytes and myeloid cells. Importantly, activated CXCR3cT1 cells in acute COVID-19 significantly correlate with and predict antibody levels and their avidity at convalescence as well as acute neutralization activity. Strikingly, intensive care unit (ICU) patients with severe COVID-19 display higher levels of soluble IL-6, IL-6R, and IL-18, and hyperactivation of innate, adaptive, and myeloid compartments than patients with moderate disease. Our analyses provide a comprehensive map of longitudinal immunological responses in COVID-19 patients and integrate key cellular pathways of complex immune networks underpinning severe COVID-19, providing important insights into potential biomarkers and immunotherapies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.xcrm.2021.100208DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7862905PMC
March 2021

Suboptimal SARS-CoV-2-specific CD8 T cell response associated with the prominent HLA-A*02:01 phenotype.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2020 09 10;117(39):24384-24391. Epub 2020 Sep 10.

Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, VIC 3000, Australia;

An improved understanding of human T cell-mediated immunity in COVID-19 is important for optimizing therapeutic and vaccine strategies. Experience with influenza shows that infection primes CD8 T cell memory to peptides presented by common HLA types like HLA-A2, which enhances recovery and diminishes clinical severity upon reinfection. Stimulating peripheral blood mononuclear cells from COVID-19 convalescent patients with overlapping peptides from severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) led to the clonal expansion of SARS-CoV-2-specific CD8 and CD4 T cells in vitro, with CD4 T cells being robust. We identified two HLA-A*02:01-restricted SARS-CoV-2-specfic CD8 T cell epitopes, A2/S and A2/Orf1ab Using peptide-HLA tetramer enrichment, direct ex vivo assessment of A2/SCD8 and A2/Orf1abCD8 populations indicated that A2/SCD8 T cells were detected at comparable frequencies (∼1.3 × 10) in acute and convalescent HLA-A*02:01 patients. These frequencies were higher than those found in uninfected HLA-A*02:01 donors (∼2.5 × 10), but low when compared to frequencies for influenza-specific (A2/M1) and Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)-specific (A2/BMLF) (∼1.38 × 10) populations. Phenotyping A2/SCD8 T cells from COVID-19 convalescents ex vivo showed that A2/SCD8 T cells were predominantly negative for CD38, HLA-DR, PD-1, and CD71 activation markers, although the majority of total CD8 T cells expressed granzymes and/or perforin. Furthermore, the bias toward naïve, stem cell memory and central memory A2/SCD8 T cells rather than effector memory populations suggests that SARS-CoV-2 infection may be compromising CD8 T cell activation. Priming with appropriate vaccines may thus be beneficial for optimizing CD8 T cell immunity in COVID-19.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2015486117DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7533701PMC
September 2020

HLA-B*27:05 alters immunodominance hierarchy of universal influenza-specific CD8+ T cells.

PLoS Pathog 2020 08 4;16(8):e1008714. Epub 2020 Aug 4.

Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Melbourne, at the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity, Parkville, Victoria, Australia.

Seasonal influenza virus infections cause 290,000-650,000 deaths annually and severe morbidity in 3-5 million people. CD8+ T-cell responses towards virus-derived peptide/human leukocyte antigen (HLA) complexes provide the broadest cross-reactive immunity against human influenza viruses. Several universally-conserved CD8+ T-cell specificities that elicit prominent responses against human influenza A viruses (IAVs) have been identified. These include HLA-A*02:01-M158-66 (A2/M158), HLA-A*03:01-NP265-273, HLA-B*08:01-NP225-233, HLA-B*18:01-NP219-226, HLA-B*27:05-NP383-391 and HLA-B*57:01-NP199-207. The immunodominance hierarchies across these universal CD8+ T-cell epitopes were however unknown. Here, we probed immunodominance status of influenza-specific universal CD8+ T-cells in HLA-I heterozygote individuals expressing two or more universal HLAs for IAV. We found that while CD8+ T-cell responses directed towards A2/M158 were generally immunodominant, A2/M158+CD8+ T-cells were markedly diminished (subdominant) in HLA-A*02:01/B*27:05-expressing donors following ex vivo and in vitro analyses. A2/M158+CD8+ T-cells in non-HLA-B*27:05 individuals were immunodominant, contained optimal public TRBV19/TRAV27 TCRαβ clonotypes and displayed highly polyfunctional and proliferative capacity, while A2/M158+CD8+ T cells in HLA-B*27:05-expressing donors were subdominant, with largely distinct TCRαβ clonotypes and consequently markedly reduced avidity, proliferative and polyfunctional efficacy. Our data illustrate altered immunodominance patterns and immunodomination within human influenza-specific CD8+ T-cells. Accordingly, our work highlights the importance of understanding immunodominance hierarchies within individual donors across a spectrum of prominent virus-specific CD8+ T-cell specificities prior to designing T cell-directed vaccines and immunotherapies, for influenza and other infectious diseases.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.ppat.1008714DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7428290PMC
August 2020

Publisher Correction: Metabolic characteristics of CD8 T cell subsets in young and aged individuals are not predictive of functionality.

Nat Commun 2020 07 9;11(1):3517. Epub 2020 Jul 9.

Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute, Monash University, Clayton, VIC, 3800, Australia.

An amendment to this paper has been published and can be accessed via a link at the top of the paper.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-17441-9DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7347533PMC
July 2020

Metabolic characteristics of CD8 T cell subsets in young and aged individuals are not predictive of functionality.

Nat Commun 2020 06 5;11(1):2857. Epub 2020 Jun 5.

Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute, Monash University, Clayton, VIC, 3800, Australia.

Virtual memory T (T) cells are antigen-naïve CD8 T cells that exist in a semi-differentiated state and exhibit marked proliferative dysfunction in advanced age. High spare respiratory capacity (SRC) has been proposed as a defining metabolic characteristic of antigen-experienced memory T (T) cells, facilitating rapid functionality and survival. Given the semi-differentiated state of T cells and their altered functionality with age, here we investigate T cell metabolism and its association with longevity and functionality. Elevated SRC is a feature of T, but not T, cells and it increases with age in both subsets. The elevated SRC observed in aged mouse T cells and human CD8 T cells from older individuals is associated with a heightened sensitivity to IL-15. We conclude that elevated SRC is a feature of T, but not T, cells, is driven by physiological levels of IL-15, and is not indicative of enhanced functionality in CD8 T cells.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-16633-7DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7275080PMC
June 2020

Human Mucosal-Associated Invariant T Cells in Older Individuals Display Expanded TCRαβ Clonotypes with Potent Antimicrobial Responses.

J Immunol 2020 03 27;204(5):1119-1133. Epub 2020 Jan 27.

Department of Microbiology and Immunology, The Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria 3000, Australia;

Mucosal-associated invariant T (MAIT) cells are important for immune responses against microbial infections. Although known to undergo marked numerical changes with age in humans, our understanding of how MAIT cells are altered during different phases across the human life span is largely unknown. Although also abundant in the tissues, our study focuses on MAIT cell analyses in blood. Across the human life span, we show that naive-like MAIT cells in umbilical cord blood switch to a central/effector memory-like profile that is sustained into older age. Whereas low-grade levels of plasma cytokine/chemokine were apparent in older donors (>65 y old), surprisingly, they did not correlate with the ex vivo MAIT hyperinflammatory cytokine profile observed in older adults. Removal of MAIT cells from older individuals and an aged environment resulted in the reversal of the baseline effector molecule profile comparable with MAIT cells from younger adults. An upregulated basal inflammatory profile accounted for reduced -specific responses in aged MAIT cells compared with their young adult counterparts when fold change in expression levels of GzmB, CD107a, IFN-γ, and TNF was examined. However, the magnitude of antimicrobial MR1-dependent activation remained as potent and polyfunctional as with younger adults. Paired TCRαβ analyses of MAIT cells revealed large clonal expansions in older adults and tissues that rivalled, remarkably, the TCRαβ repertoire diversity of virus-specific CD8 T cells. These data suggest that MAIT cells in older individuals, although associated with large clonal TCRαβ expansions and increased baseline inflammatory potential, demonstrate plasticity and provide potent antimicrobial immunity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.4049/jimmunol.1900774DOI Listing
March 2020

Back to the Future: Lessons Learned From the 1918 Influenza Pandemic.

Front Cell Infect Microbiol 2018 8;8:343. Epub 2018 Oct 8.

Department of Microbiology and Immunology, The Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity, University of Melbourne, Parkville, VIC, Australia.

2018 marks the 100-year anniversary of the 1918 influenza pandemic, which killed ~50 million people worldwide. The severity of this pandemic resulted from a complex interplay between viral, host, and societal factors. Here, we review the viral, genetic and immune factors that contributed to the severity of the 1918 pandemic and discuss the implications for modern pandemic preparedness. We address unresolved questions of why the 1918 influenza H1N1 virus was more virulent than other influenza pandemics and why some people survived the 1918 pandemic and others succumbed to the infection. While current studies suggest that viral factors such as haemagglutinin and polymerase gene segments most likely contributed to a potent, dysregulated pro-inflammatory cytokine storm in victims of the pandemic, a shift in case-fatality for the 1918 pandemic toward young adults was most likely associated with the host's immune status. Lack of pre-existing virus-specific and/or cross-reactive antibodies and cellular immunity in children and young adults likely contributed to the high attack rate and rapid spread of the 1918 H1N1 virus. In contrast, lower mortality rate in in the older (>30 years) adult population points toward the beneficial effects of pre-existing cross-reactive immunity. In addition to the role of humoral and cellular immunity, there is a growing body of evidence to suggest that individual genetic differences, especially involving single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), contribute to differences in the severity of influenza virus infections. Co-infections with bacterial pathogens, and possibly measles and malaria, co-morbidities, malnutrition or obesity are also known to affect the severity of influenza disease, and likely influenced 1918 H1N1 disease severity and outcomes. Additionally, we also discuss the new challenges, such as changing population demographics, antibiotic resistance and climate change, which we will face in the context of any future influenza virus pandemic. In the last decade there has been a dramatic increase in the number of severe influenza virus strains entering the human population from animal reservoirs (including highly pathogenic H7N9 and H5N1 viruses). An understanding of past influenza virus pandemics and the lessons that we have learnt from them has therefore never been more pertinent.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fcimb.2018.00343DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6187080PMC
September 2019

Effects of pre-existing orthopoxvirus-specific immunity on the performance of Modified Vaccinia virus Ankara-based influenza vaccines.

Sci Rep 2018 04 24;8(1):6474. Epub 2018 Apr 24.

Department of Viroscience, Postgraduate School of Molecular Medicine, Erasmus MC, Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

The replication-deficient orthopoxvirus modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA) is a promising vaccine vector against various pathogens and has an excellent safety record. However, pre-existing vector-specific immunity is frequently suggested to be a drawback of MVA-based vaccines. To address this issue, mice were vaccinated with MVA-based influenza vaccines in the presence or absence of orthopoxvirus-specific immunity. Importantly, protective efficacy of an MVA-based influenza vaccine against a homologous challenge was not impaired in the presence of orthopoxvirus-specific pre-existing immunity. Nonetheless, orthopoxvirus-specific pre-existing immunity reduced the induction of antigen-specific antibodies under specific conditions and completely prevented induction of antigen-specific T cell responses by rMVA-based vaccination. Notably, antibodies induced by vaccinia virus vaccination, both in mice and humans, were not capable of neutralizing MVA. Thus, when using rMVA-based vaccines it is important to consider the main correlate of protection induced by the vaccine, the vaccine dose and the orthopoxvirus immune status of vaccine recipients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-018-24820-2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5915537PMC
April 2018

H1N1pdm09 Influenza Virus and Its Descendants Lack Extra-epitopic Amino Acid Residues Associated With Reduced Recognition by M158-66-Specific CD8+ T Cells.

J Infect Dis 2018 07;218(4):581-585

Department of Viroscience, Erasmus Medical Center, Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

Extra-epitopic amino acid residues affect recognition of human influenza A viruses (IAVs) by CD8+ T-lymphocytes (CTLs) specific for the highly conserved HLA-A*0201 restricted M158-66 epitope located in the matrix 1 (M1) protein. These residues are absent in the M1 protein of the 2009-pandemic IAV (H1N1pdm09). Consequently, stimulation with M1 protein of H1N1pdm09 IAV resulted in stronger activation and lytic activity of M158-66-specific CTLs than stimulation with seasonal H3N2 IAVs. During >6 years of circulation in the human population, descendants of the H1N1pdm09 virus had accumulated 4 other amino acid substitutions. However, these did not affect M158-66-specific CTL activation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/infdis/jiy218DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6047425PMC
July 2018

Variation at Extra-epitopic Amino Acid Residues Influences Suppression of Influenza Virus Replication by M1 Epitope-Specific CD8 T Lymphocytes.

J Virol 2018 06 14;92(11). Epub 2018 May 14.

Department of Viroscience, ErasmusMC, Rotterdam, The Netherlands

Influenza virus-specific CD8 T lymphocytes (CTLs) contribute to clearance of influenza virus infections and reduce disease severity. Variation at amino acid residues located in or outside CTL epitopes has been shown to affect viral recognition by virus-specific CTLs. In the present study, we investigated the effect of naturally occurring variation at residues outside the conserved immunodominant and HLA*0201-restricted M1 epitope, located in the influenza virus M1 protein, on the extent of virus replication in the presence of CTLs specific for the epitope. To this end, we used isogenic viruses with an M1 gene segment derived from either an avian or a human influenza virus, HLA-transgenic human epithelial cells, human T cell clones specific for the M1 epitope or a control epitope, and a novel, purposely developed system to coculture influenza virus-infected cells with T cells. We found that the M gene segment of a human influenza A/H3N2 virus afforded the virus the capacity to replicate better in the presence of M1-specific CTLs than the M gene segment of avian viruses. These findings are in concordance with previously observed differential CTL activation, caused by variation at extra-epitopic residues, and may reflect an immune adaptation strategy of human influenza viruses that allows them to cope with potent CTL immunity to the M1 epitope in HLA-A*0201-positive individuals, resulting in increased virus replication and shedding and possibly increasing disease severity. Influenza viruses are among the leading causes of acute respiratory tract infections. CD8 T lymphocytes display a high degree of cross-reactivity with influenza A viruses of various subtypes and are considered an important correlate of protection. Unraveling viral immune evasion strategies and identifying signs of immune adaptation are important for defining the role of CD8 T lymphocytes in affording protection more accurately. Improving our insight into the interaction between influenza viruses and virus-specific CD8 T lymphocyte immunity may help to advance our understanding of influenza virus epidemiology, aid in risk assessment of potentially pandemic influenza virus strains, and benefit the design of vaccines that induce more broadly protective immunity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/JVI.00232-18DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5952141PMC
June 2018

Modified Vaccinia Virus Ankara Preferentially Targets Antigen Presenting Cells In Vitro, Ex Vivo and In Vivo.

Sci Rep 2017 08 17;7(1):8580. Epub 2017 Aug 17.

Department of Viroscience, Postgraduate School of Molecular Medicine, Erasmus MC, Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

Modified Vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA) is a promising vaccine vector with an excellent safety profile. However, despite extensive pre-clinical and clinical testing, surprisingly little is known about the cellular tropism of MVA, especially in relevant animal species. Here, we performed in vitro, ex vivo and in vivo experiments with recombinant MVA expressing green fluorescent protein (rMVA-GFP). In both human peripheral blood mononuclear cells and mouse lung explants, rMVA-GFP predominantly infected antigen presenting cells. Subsequent in vivo experiments performed in mice, ferrets and non-human primates indicated that preferential targeting of dendritic cells and alveolar macrophages was observed after respiratory administration, although subtle differences were observed between the respective animal species. Following intramuscular injection, rMVA-GFP was detected in interdigitating cells between myocytes, but also in myocytes themselves. These data are important in advancing our understanding of the basis for the immunogenicity of MVA-based vaccines and aid rational vaccine design and delivery strategies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-017-08719-yDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5561217PMC
August 2017

Human CD8 T Cells Damage Noninfected Epithelial Cells during Influenza Virus Infection In Vitro.

Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol 2017 11;57(5):536-546

1 Department of Viroscience, Erasmus Medical Center, Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

During severe influenza A virus (IAV) infections, a large amount of damage to the pulmonary epithelium is the result of the antiviral immune response. Specifically, whilst CD8 T cells are important for killing IAV-infected cells, during a severe IAV infection, they can damage uninfected epithelial cells. At present, the mechanisms by which this occurs are unclear. Here, we used a novel in vitro coculture model of human NCl-H441 cells and CD8 T cells to provide a new insight into how CD8 T cells may affect uninfected epithelial cells during severe IAV infections. Using this model, we show that human IAV-specific CD8 T cells produce soluble factors that reduce the barrier integrity of noninfected epithelial cells (referred to as "bystander damage"). We show that this bystander damage is the result of a combination of TNF-α and IFN-γ. This bystander damage occurred in the absence of widespread epithelial cell death and was instead associated with decreased expression of epithelial cell ion channels and pumps. Together, these data suggest that ameliorating the function of epithelial cell ion channels and pumps may help reduce immunopathology during severe IAV infections.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1165/rcmb.2016-0377OCDOI Listing
November 2017

Increased Protein Degradation Improves Influenza Virus Nucleoprotein-Specific CD8+ T Cell Activation In Vitro but Not in C57BL/6 Mice.

J Virol 2016 Nov 28;90(22):10209-10219. Epub 2016 Oct 28.

Department of Viroscience, Erasmus MC, Rotterdam, the Netherlands

Due to antigenic drift of influenza viruses, seasonal influenza vaccines need to be updated annually. These vaccines are based on predictions of strains likely to circulate in the next season. However, vaccine efficacy is greatly reduced in the case of a mismatch between circulating and vaccine strains. Furthermore, novel antigenically distinct influenza viruses are introduced into the human population from animal reservoirs occasionally and may cause pandemic outbreaks. To dampen the impact of seasonal and pandemic influenza, vaccines that induce broadly protective and long-lasting immunity are preferred. Because influenza virus-specific CD8 T cells are directed mainly against relatively conserved internal proteins, like nucleoprotein (NP), they are highly cross-reactive and afford protection against infection with antigenically distinct influenza virus strains, so-called heterosubtypic immunity. Here, we used modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA) as a vaccine vector for the induction of influenza virus NP-specific CD8 T cells. To optimize the induction of CD8 T cell responses, we made several modifications to NP, aiming at retaining the protein in the cytosol or targeting it to the proteasome. We hypothesized that these strategies would increase antigen processing and presentation and thus improve the induction of CD8 T cell responses. We showed that NP with increased degradation rates improved CD8 T cell activation in vitro if the amount of antigen was limited or if CD8 T cells were of low functional avidity. However, after immunization of C57BL/6 mice, no differences were detected between modified NP and wild-type NP (NPwt), since NPwt already induced optimal CD8 T cell responses.

Importance: Due to the continuous antigenic drift of seasonal influenza viruses and the threat of a novel pandemic, there is a great need for the development of novel influenza vaccines that offer broadly protective immunity against multiple subtypes. CD8 T cells can provide immunity against multiple subtypes of influenza viruses by the recognition of relatively conserved internal antigens. In this study, we aimed at optimizing the CD8 T cell response to influenza A virus by making modifications to influenza A virus nucleoprotein (NP) expressed from the modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA) vaccine vector. These modifications resulted in increased antigen degradation, thereby producing elevated levels of peptides that can be presented on major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I molecules to CD8 T cells. Although we were unable to increase the NP-specific immune response in the mouse strain used, this approach may have benefits for vaccine development using less-immunogenic proteins.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/JVI.01633-16DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5105657PMC
November 2016

Differential Recognition of Influenza A Viruses by M158-66 Epitope-Specific CD8+ T Cells Is Determined by Extraepitopic Amino Acid Residues.

J Virol 2016 01 4;90(2):1009-22. Epub 2015 Nov 4.

Department of Viroscience, Erasmus MC, Rotterdam, The Netherlands ViroClinics Biosciences BV, Rotterdam, The Netherlands

Unlabelled: Natural influenza A virus infections elicit both virus-specific antibody and CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cell responses. Influenza A virus-specific CD8(+) cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) contribute to clearance of influenza virus infections. Viral CTL epitopes can display variation, allowing influenza A viruses to evade recognition by epitope-specific CTLs. Due to functional constraints, some epitopes, like the immunodominant HLA-A*0201-restricted matrix protein 1 (M158-66) epitope, are highly conserved between influenza A viruses regardless of their subtype or host species of origin. We hypothesized that human influenza A viruses evade recognition of this epitope by impairing antigen processing and presentation by extraepitopic amino acid substitutions. Activation of specific T cells was used as an indication of antigen presentation. Here, we show that the M158-66 epitope in the M1 protein derived from human influenza A virus was poorly recognized compared to the M1 protein derived from avian influenza A virus. Furthermore, we demonstrate that naturally occurring variations at extraepitopic amino acid residues affect CD8(+) T cell recognition of the M158-66 epitope. These data indicate that human influenza A viruses can impair recognition by M158-66-specific CTLs while retaining the conserved amino acid sequence of the epitope, which may represent a yet-unknown immune evasion strategy for influenza A viruses. This difference in recognition may have implications for the viral replication kinetics in HLA-A*0201 individuals and spread of influenza A viruses in the human population. The findings may aid the rational design of universal influenza vaccines that aim at the induction of cross-reactive virus-specific CTL responses.

Importance: Influenza viruses are an important cause of acute respiratory tract infections. Natural influenza A virus infections elicit both humoral and cellular immunity. CD8(+) cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) are directed predominantly against conserved internal proteins and confer cross-protection, even against influenza A viruses of various subtypes. In some CTL epitopes, mutations occur that allow influenza A viruses to evade recognition by CTLs. However, the immunodominant HLA-A*0201-restricted M158-66 epitope does not tolerate mutations without loss of viral fitness. Here, we describe naturally occurring variations in amino acid residues outside the M158-66 epitope that influence the recognition of the epitope. These results provide novel insights into the epidemiology of influenza A viruses and their pathogenicity and may aid rational design of vaccines that aim at the induction of CTL responses.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/JVI.02439-15DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4702701PMC
January 2016

Influenza B viruses: not to be discounted.

Future Microbiol 2015 11;10(9):1447-65. Epub 2015 Sep 11.

Department of Viroscience, Erasmus Medical Center, PO Box 2040, 3000 CA, Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

In contrast to influenza A viruses, which have been investigated extensively, influenza B viruses have attracted relatively little attention. However, influenza B viruses are an important cause of morbidity and mortality in the human population and full understanding of their biological and epidemiological properties is imperative to better control this important pathogen. However, some of its characteristics are still elusive and warrant investigation. Here, we review evolution, epidemiology, pathogenesis and immunity and identify gaps in our knowledge of influenza B viruses. The divergence of two antigenically distinct influenza B viruses is highlighted. The co-circulation of viruses of these two lineages necessitated the development of quadrivalent influenza vaccines, which is discussed in addition to possibilities to develop universal vaccination strategies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2217/fmb.15.65DOI Listing
July 2016

Influenza B virus-specific CD8+ T-lymphocytes strongly cross-react with viruses of the opposing influenza B lineage.

J Gen Virol 2015 Aug 21;96(8):2061-2073. Epub 2015 Apr 21.

Department of Viroscience, Erasmus MC, Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

Influenza B viruses fall in two antigenically distinct lineages (B/Victoria/2/1987 and B/Yamagata/16/1988 lineage) that co-circulate with influenza A viruses of the H3N2 and H1N1 subtypes during seasonal epidemics. Infections with influenza B viruses contribute considerably to morbidity and mortality in the human population. Influenza B virus neutralizing antibodies, elicited by natural infections or vaccination, poorly cross-react with viruses of the opposing influenza B lineage. Therefore, there is an increased interest in identifying other correlates of protection which could aid the development of broadly protective vaccines. blast analysis revealed high sequence identity of all viral proteins. With two online epitope prediction algorithms, putative conserved epitopes relevant for study subjects used in the present study were predicted. The cross-reactivity of influenza B virus-specific polyclonal CD8+ cytotoxic T-lymphocyte (CTL) populations obtained from HLA-typed healthy study subjects, with intra-lineage drift variants and viruses of the opposing lineage, was determined by assessing their in vitro IFN-γ response and lytic activity. Here, we show for the first time, to the best of our knowledge, that CTLs directed to viruses of the B/Victoria/2/1987 lineage cross-react with viruses of the B/Yamagata/16/1988 lineage and vice versa.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1099/vir.0.000156DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4681061PMC
August 2015

Immunodominant responses to the influenza virus M158-66 epitope: Stealth or protection?

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2015 May 6;112(19):E2417. Epub 2015 Apr 6.

Department of Viroscience, Erasmus Medical Center, 3015 CN, Rotterdam, The Netherlands

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1503245112DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4434705PMC
May 2015

Human Influenza A Virus-Specific CD8+ T-Cell Response Is Long-lived.

J Infect Dis 2015 Jul 12;212(1):81-5. Epub 2015 Jan 12.

Department of Viroscience, Erasmus Medical Center ViroClinics Biosciences, Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

Animal and human studies have demonstrated the importance of influenza A virus (IAV)-specific CD8(+) cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) in heterosubtypic cross-protective immunity. Using peripheral blood mononuclear cells obtained intermittently from healthy HLA-typed blood donors between 1999 and 2012, we were able to demonstrate that IAV-specific CTLs are long-lived. Intercurrent IAV infections transiently increase the frequency of functionally distinct subsets of IAV-specific CTLs, in particular effector and effector memory T cells.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/infdis/jiv018DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4542594PMC
July 2015

An autotransporter display platform for the development of multivalent recombinant bacterial vector vaccines.

Microb Cell Fact 2014 Nov 25;13:162. Epub 2014 Nov 25.

Department of Molecular Cell Biology, Section Molecular Microbiology, Faculty of Earth and Life Sciences, VU University, De Boelelaan 1085, 1081, HV, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Background: The Autotransporter pathway, ubiquitous in Gram-negative bacteria, allows the efficient secretion of large passenger proteins via a relatively simple mechanism. Capitalizing on its crystal structure, we have engineered the Escherichia coli autotransporter Hemoglobin protease (Hbp) into a versatile platform for secretion and surface display of multiple heterologous proteins in one carrier molecule.

Results: As proof-of-concept, we demonstrate efficient secretion and high-density display of the sizeable Mycobacterium tuberculosis antigens ESAT6, Ag85B and Rv2660c in E. coli simultaneously. Furthermore, we show stable multivalent display of these antigens in an attenuated Salmonella Typhimurium strain upon chromosomal integration. To emphasize the versatility of the Hbp platform, we also demonstrate efficient expression of multiple sizeable antigenic fragments from Chlamydia trachomatis and the influenza A virus at the Salmonella cell surface.

Conclusions: The successful efficient cell surface display of multiple antigens from various pathogenic organisms highlights the potential of Hbp as a universal platform for the development of multivalent recombinant bacterial vector vaccines.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12934-014-0162-8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4252983PMC
November 2014

Novel G3/DT adjuvant promotes the induction of protective T cells responses after vaccination with a seasonal trivalent inactivated split-virion influenza vaccine.

Vaccine 2014 Sep 17;32(43):5614-23. Epub 2014 Aug 17.

Department of Viroscience, Erasmus MC, PO Box 2040, 3000 CA Rotterdam, The Netherlands; ViroClinics Biosciences BV, Marconistraat 16, 3029 AK Rotterdam, The Netherlands. Electronic address:

Vaccines used against seasonal influenza are poorly effective against influenza A viruses of novel subtypes that may have pandemic potential. Furthermore, pre(pandemic) influenza vaccines are poorly immunogenic, which can be overcome by the use of adjuvants. A limited number of adjuvants has been approved for use in humans, however there is a need for alternative safe and effective adjuvants that can enhance the immunogenicity of influenza vaccines and that promote the induction of broad-protective T cell responses. Here we evaluated a novel nanoparticle, G3, as an adjuvant for a seasonal trivalent inactivated influenza vaccine in a mouse model. The G3 adjuvant was formulated with or without steviol glycosides (DT, for diterpenoid). The use of both formulations enhanced the virus-specific antibody response to all three vaccine strains considerably. The adjuvants were well tolerated without any signs of discomfort. To assess the protective potential of the vaccine-induced immune responses, an antigenically distinct influenza virus strain, A/Puerto Rico/8/34 (A/PR/8/34), was used for challenge infection. The vaccine-induced antibodies did not cross-react with strain A/PR/8/34 in HI and VN assays. However, mice immunized with the G3/DT-adjuvanted vaccine were partially protected against A/PR/8/34 infection, which correlated with the induction of anamnestic virus-specific CD8(+) T cell responses that were not observed with the use of G3 without DT. Both formulations induced maturation of human dendritic cells and promoted antigen presentation to a similar extent. In conclusion, G3/DT is a promising adjuvant formulation that not only potentiates the antibody response induced by influenza vaccines, but also induces T cell immunity which could afford broader protection against antigenically distinct influenza viruses.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.vaccine.2014.08.003DOI Listing
September 2014

Human cytotoxic T lymphocytes directed to seasonal influenza A viruses cross-react with the newly emerging H7N9 virus.

J Virol 2014 Feb 20;88(3):1684-93. Epub 2013 Nov 20.

Viroscience Laboratory, Erasmus MC, Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

In February 2013, zoonotic transmission of a novel influenza A virus of the H7N9 subtype was reported in China. Although at present no sustained human-to-human transmission has been reported, a pandemic outbreak of this H7N9 virus is feared. Since neutralizing antibodies to the hemagglutinin (HA) globular head domain of the virus are virtually absent in the human population, there is interest in identifying other correlates of protection, such as cross-reactive CD8(+) T cells (cytotoxic T lymphocytes [CTLs]) elicited during seasonal influenza A virus infections. These virus-specific CD8(+) T cells are known to recognize conserved internal proteins of influenza A viruses predominantly, but it is unknown to what extent they cross-react with the newly emerging H7N9 virus. Here, we assessed the cross-reactivity of seasonal H3N2 and H1N1 and pandemic H1N1 influenza A virus-specific polyclonal CD8(+) T cells, obtained from HLA-typed study subjects, with the novel H7N9 virus. The cross-reactivity of CD8(+) T cells to H7N9 variants of known influenza A virus epitopes and H7N9 virus-infected cells was determined by their gamma interferon (IFN-γ) response and lytic activity. It was concluded that, apart from recognition of individual H7N9 variant epitopes, CD8(+) T cells to seasonal influenza viruses display considerable cross-reactivity with the novel H7N9 virus. The presence of these cross-reactive CD8(+) T cells may afford some protection against infection with the new virus.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/JVI.02843-13DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3911609PMC
February 2014

Evasion of influenza A viruses from innate and adaptive immune responses.

Viruses 2012 09 3;4(9):1438-76. Epub 2012 Sep 3.

Department of Virology, ErasmusMC, Dr. Molewaterplein 50, 3015 GE, Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

The influenza A virus is one of the leading causes of respiratory tract infections in humans. Upon infection with an influenza A virus, both innate and adaptive immune responses are induced. Here we discuss various strategies used by influenza A viruses to evade innate immune responses and recognition by components of the humoral and cellular immune response, which consequently may result in reduced clearing of the virus and virus-infected cells. Finally, we discuss how the current knowledge about immune evasion can be used to improve influenza A vaccination strategies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/v4091438DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3499814PMC
September 2012