Human adenovirus (HAdV) is a cause of significant morbidity and mortality in immunocompromised patients, especially after stem cell transplantation (SCT). Viral clearance has been attributed to CD4+ T-cell responses against the Hexon-protein, but the frequency of specific THELPER cells is extremely low or not detectable ex vivo and preference for different CD4+ T-cell epitopes is variable among individuals. We therefore analyzed 44 healthy donors and 6 SCT-recipients for Hexon-specific CD4+-responses ex vivo, to identify epitopes which would be broadly applicable. We selected 19 candidate epitopes with predicted restriction to HLA-DR1/DR3/DR4/DR7; 16 were located within the highly conserved regions, indicating cross-reactivity of T cells among HAdV-subspecies. Ten epitopes induced CD4+-proliferation in >50% of individuals, confirmed by intracellular IFN-γ detection. Three SCT recipients who recovered from an infection with HAdV displayed reactivity towards only a single hexon epitope, whereas healthy individuals were responsive to two to eight epitopes (median 3). The ex vivo detection of Hexon-specific CD4+ T-cells, without any long-term culture in vitro, enables the detection and generation of HAdV-specific CD4+ T cells for adoptive T-cell transfer against HAdV-infection post SCT. © 2009 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Serangeli, C., Bicanic, O., Scheible, M. H., Wernet, D., Lang, P., Rammensee, H. G., … Feuchtinger, T. (2010). Ex vivo detection of adenovirus specific CD4+ T-cell responses to HLA-DR-epitopes of the Hexon protein show a contracted specificity of THELPER cells following stem cell transplantation. Virology, 397(2), 277–284. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.virol.2009.10.049