Measuring Antiviral Capacity of T Cell Responses to Adenovirus.


Institute for Medical Virology and Epidemiology of Viral Diseases, University Hospital Tübingen 72076, Tubingen, Germany; [Email]


Adenoviruses are a major cause of infectious mortality in children following allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation, with adoptive transfer of adenovirus-specific T cells being an effective therapeutic approach. We have previously shown that T cells specific for the peptide epitope LTDLGQNLLY were protective. In this study, we aimed to establish a viral dissemination assay to measure the antiviral capacity of T cells specific for this and other peptide epitopes in an infectious setting. We used replication-competent adenovirus 11 (Ad11pGFP) and adenovirus 5 containing adenovirus 35 fiber (Ad5F35GFP) viruses and T cells specific for HLA-A*01-restricted LTDLGQNLLY, HLA-B*07-restricted KPYSGTAYNAL, and HLA-A*02-restricted LLDQLIEEV peptide epitopes. T cells in PBMC from healthy donors were expanded with peptide and IL-2 or treated with IL-2 alone to serve as nonstimulated control cells, and then these expanded or nonstimulated CD8+ cells were purified and cocultured with autologous monocytes infected with adenovirus at low multiplicity of infection. After 3 d, the number of infected GFP+ monocytes and, hence, viral dissemination was quantified by flow cytometry. T cells expanded with LTDLGQNLLY peptide from multiple HLA-A*01+ donors prevented adenovirus dissemination, and nonstimulated T cells did not prevent dissemination, thus, indicating that LTDLGQNLLY-specific T cells have high antiviral capacity. Similarly, expanded KPYSGTAYNAL- and LLDQLIEEV-specific T cells could prevent viral dissemination. However, the frequency of expanded T cells specific for these last two epitopes was variable between donors with consequent variable prevention of adenoviral dissemination. Taken together, we demonstrate that T cells specific for three peptide epitopes, from both structural and nonstructural proteins, can prevent adenoviral dissemination and provide a novel method to measure the antiviral capacity of adenovirus-specific T cell responses.