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J Clin Immunol. 2010 Sep;30(5):703-22. doi: 10.1007/s10875-010-9441-2. Epub 2010 Jul 16.

Diversity in CD8(+) T cell function and epitope breadth among persons with genital herpes.

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  • 1Vaccine and Infectious Disease Division, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, WA, USA.

Abstract

CD8(+) T cells are known to be important in clearing herpes simplex virus (HSV) infections. However, investigating the specific antiviral mechanisms employed by HSV-2-specific T cell populations is limited by a lack of reagents such as CD8(+) T cell epitopes and specific tetramers. Using a combination of intracellular cytokine staining flow cytometry and ELISpot methods, we functionally characterized peripheral HSV-2-specific CD8(+) T cells from peripheral blood mononuclear cell (PBMC) that recognize 14 selected HSV-2 open-reading frames (ORFs) from 55 HSV-2 seropositive persons; within these ORFs, we subsequently identified more than 20 unique CD8(+) T cell epitopes. CD8(+) T cells to HSV-2 exhibited significant heterogeneity in their functional characteristics, proliferation, production of inflammatory cytokines, and potential to degranulate ex vivo. The diversity in T cell response in these ex vivo assessments offers the potential of defining immune correlates of HSV-2 reactivation in humans.

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