Identification of amino acids involved in recognition by dengue virus NS3-specific, HLA-DR15-restricted cytotoxic CD4+ T-cell clones
Zeng, L.; Kurane, I.; Okamoto, Y.; Ennis, F.A.; Brinton, M.A.
Journal of Virology 70(5): 3108-3117
ISSN/ISBN: 0022-538X PMID: 8627790 Accession: 008806510
The majority of T-cell clones derived from a donor who experienced dengue illness following receipt of a live experimental dengue virus type 3 (DEN3) vaccine cross-reacted with all four serotypes of dengue virus, but some were serotype specific or only partially cross-reactive. The nonstructural protein, NS3, was immuno-dominant in the CD4+ T-cell response of this donor. The epitopes of four NS3-specific T-cell clones were analyzed. JK15 and JK13 recognized only DEN3 NS3, while JK44 recognized DEN1, DEN2, and DEN3 NS3 and JK5 recognized DEN1, DEN3, and West Nile virus NS3. The epitopes recognized by these clones on the DEN3 NS3 protein were localized with recombinant vaccinia viruses expressing truncated regions of the NS3 gene, and then the minimal recognition sequence was mapped with synthetic peptides. Amino acids critical for T-cell recognition were assessed by using peptides with amino acid substitutions. One of the serotype-specific clones (JK13) and the subcomplex- and flavivirus-cross-reactive clone (JK5) recognized the same core epitope, WITDFVGKTVW. The amino acid at the sixth position of this epitope is critical for recognition by both clones. Sequence analysis of the T-cell receptors of these two clones showed that they utilize different VP chains. The core epitopes for the four HLA-DR15-restricted CD4+ CTL clones studied do not contain motifs similar to those proposed by previous studies on endogenous peptides eluted from HLA-DR15 molecules. However, the majority of these dengue virus NS3 core epitopes have a positive amino acid (K or R) at position 8 or 9. Our results indicate that a single epitope can induce T cells with different virus specificities despite the restriction of these T cells by the same HLA-DR15 allele. This finding suggests a previously unappreciated level of complexity for interactions between human T-cell receptors and viral epitopes with very similar sequences on infected cells.