Distinct activation phenotype of a highly conserved novel HLA-B57-restricted epitope during dengue virus infection

Townsley E, Woda M, Thomas SJ, Kalayanarooj S, Gibbons RV, Nisalak A, Srikiatkhachorn A, Green S, Stephens HA, Rothman AL, Mathew A

Immunology 2014 Jan;141(1):27-38

PMID: 23941420


Variation in the sequence of T-cell epitopes between dengue virus (DENV) serotypes is believed to alter memory T-cell responses during second heterologous infections. We identified a highly conserved, novel, HLA-B57-restricted epitope on the DENV NS1 protein. We predicted higher frequencies of B57-NS1(26-34) -specific CD8(+) T cells in peripheral blood mononuclear cells from individuals undergoing secondary rather than primary DENV infection. However, high tetramer-positive T-cell frequencies during acute infection were seen in only one of nine subjects with secondary infection. B57-NS1(26-34) -specific and other DENV epitope-specific CD8(+) T cells, as well as total CD8(+) T cells, expressed an activated phenotype (CD69(+) and/or CD38(+)) during acute infection. In contrast, expression of CD71 was largely limited to DENV epitope-specific CD8(+) T cells. In vitro stimulation of cell lines indicated that CD71 expression was differentially sensitive to stimulation by homologous and heterologous variant peptides. CD71 may represent a useful marker of antigen-specific T-cell activation.