Zika virus (ZIKV) is a mosquito-borne pathogen that caused an epidemic in 2015–2016. ZIKV-specific T cell responses are functional in animal infection models, and helper CD4 T cells promote avid Abs in the vaccine context. The small volumes of blood available from field research limit the determination of T cell epitopes for complex microbes such as ZIKV. The goal of this project was efficient determination of human ZIKV CD4 T cell epitopes at the whole proteome scale, including validation of reactivity to whole pathogen, using small blood samples from convalescent time points when T cell response magnitude may have waned. Polyclonal enrichment of candidate ZIKV-specific CD4 T cells used cell-associated virus, documenting that T cells in downstream peptide analyses also recognize whole virus after Ag processing. Sequential query of bulk ZIKV-reactive CD4 T cells with pooled/single ZIKV peptides and molecularly defined APC allowed precision epitope and HLA restriction assignments across the ZIKV proteome and enabled discovery of numerous novel ZIKV CD4 T cell epitopes. The research workflow is useful for the study of emerging infectious diseases with a very limited human blood sample availability.
|Number of pages||453|
|Publication status||Published - 04 Aug 2020|