Expansion of human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) immediate-early 1-specific CD8+ T cells and control of HCMV replication after allogeneic stem cell transplantation.J Virol. 2008 Oct; 82(20):10143-52.JV
Recovery of human cytomegalovirus (HCMV)-specific T immunity is critical for protection against HCMV disease in the early phase after allogeneic stem cell transplantation (SCT). Using an enzyme-linked immunospot assay with overlapping 15-mer peptides spanning pp65 and immediate-early 1 HCMV proteins, we investigated which HCMV-specific CD8(+) gamma interferon-positive (IFN-gamma(+)) T-cell responses against pp65 and IE-1 were associated with control of HCMV replication in 48 recipients of unmanipulated HLA-matched allografts at 3 months (M3) and 6 months (M6) after SCT and in 23 donors. At M3 after SCT, the magnitude of the pp65-specific IFN-gamma-producing CD8(+) T-cell response was greater in recipients than in donors, regardless of HCMV status. In contrast, expansion of IE-1-specific CD8(+) T cells at M3 was associated with protection against HCMV, and no patient with this expansion had HCMV replication at M3. At M6, the number of HCMV-specific CD8(+) T cells against both pp65 and IE-1 had expanded in all recipients, regardless of their previous levels of HCMV replication. The recipients' HCMV-specific CD8(+) T cells already detectable in related donors were predominantly targeting pp65. In contrast, in 40% of the cases, the HCMV-specific CD8(+) T cells in recipients involved new CD8(+) T-cell specificities undetectable in their related donors and preferentially targeting IE-1. Taken together, these results showed that the delay in reconstituting IE-1-specific CD8(+) T cells is correlated with the lack of protection against HCMV in the first 3 months after SCT. They also show that IE-1 is a major antigenic determinant of the early restoration of protective immunity to HCMV after SCT.