Document Type

Article

Publication Date

5-1-2011

Comments

This article has been peer reviewed and is published in PLoS One 2011, 6(5). The published version is available at DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0020068. © Public Library of Science

Abstract

Treatment of invasive adenovirus (Ad) disease in hematopoietic stem cell transplant (SCT) recipients with capsid protein hexon-specific donor T cells is under investigation. We propose that cytotoxic T cells (CTLs) targeted to the late protein hexon may be inefficient in vivo because the early Ad protein E3-19K downregulates HLA class I antigens in infected cells. In this study, CD8+ T cells targeted to highly conserved HLA A2-restricted epitopes from the early regulatory protein DNA polymerase (P-977) and late protein hexon (H-892) were compared in peripheral blood (PB) and tonsils of naturally infected adults. In tonsils, epitope-specific pentamers detected a significantly higher frequency of P-977+CD8+ T cells compared to H-892+CD8+ T cells; this trend was reversed in PB. Tonsil epitope-specific CD8+ T cells expressed IFN-γ and IL-2 but not perforin or TNF-α, whereas PB T cells were positive for IFN-γ, TNF-α, and perforin. Tonsil epitope-specific T cells expressed lymphoid homing marker CCR7 and exhibited lower levels of the activation marker CD25 but higher proliferative potential than PB T cells. Finally, in parallel with the kinetics of mRNA expression, P-977-specific CTLs lysed targets as early as 8 hrs post infection. In contrast, H-892-specific CTLs did not kill unless infected fibroblasts were pretreated with IFN-γ to up regulate HLA class I antigens, and cytotoxicity was delayed until 16-24 hours. These data show that, in contrast to hexon CTLs, central memory type DNA polymerase CTLs dominate the lymphoid compartment and kill fibroblasts earlier after infection without requiring exogenous IFN-γ. Thus, use of CTLs targeted to both early and late Ad proteins may improve the efficacy of immunotherapy for life-threatening Ad disease in SCT recipients.