Characterization of Antigenic MHC-Class-I-Restricted T Cell Epitopes in the Glycoprotein of Ebolavirus.
Powlson J., Wright D., Zeltina A., Giza M., Nielsen M., Rampling T., Venkatrakaman N., Bowden TA., Hill AVS., Ewer KJ.
Ebolavirus causes highly lethal hemorrhagic fever in humans. The envelope-displayed viral glycoprotein (GP) is the primary target of humoral immunity induced by natural exposure and vaccination. No T cell epitopes in the GP have been characterized in humans. A phase I clinical trial of a heterologous prime-boost vaccination regime with viral vectors encoding filovirus antigens elicits humoral and T cell responses in vaccinees. The most frequently recognized peptide pools are deconvoluted to identify the minimal epitopes recognized by antigen-specific T cells. We characterize nine immunogenic epitopes on the Ebolavirus GP. Histocompatibility leukocyte antigen (HLA) typing with in silico epitope analysis determines the likely MHC class I restriction elements. Thirteen HLA-A and -B alleles are predicted to present the identified CD8+ T cell epitopes, suggesting promiscuous recognition and a broad immune response. Delivery of the Ebolavirus GP antigen by using a heterologous prime-boost approach is immunogenic in genetically diverse human populations, with responses against multiple epitopes.