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Coinfection with human cytomegalovirus genetic variants in transplant recipients and its impact on antiviral T cell immune reconstitution

Smith, Corey, Brennan, Rebekah M., Tey, Siok-Keen, Smyth, Mark J., Burrows, Scott R., Miles, John, Hill, Geoffrey R., Khanna, Rajiv and Frueh, K. 2016. Coinfection with human cytomegalovirus genetic variants in transplant recipients and its impact on antiviral T cell immune reconstitution. Journal of Virology 90 (16) , pp. 7497-7507. 10.1128/JVI.00297-16

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Reconstitution of T cell immunity is absolutely critical for the effective control of virus-associated infectious complications in hematopoietic stem cell transplant (HSCT) recipients. Coinfection with genetic variants of human cytomegalovirus (CMV) in transplant recipients has been linked to clinical disease manifestation; however, how these genetic variants impact T cell immune reconstitution remains poorly understood. In this study, we have evaluated dynamic changes in the emergence of genetic variants of CMV in HSCT recipients and correlated these changes with reconstitution of antiviral T cell responses. In an analysis of single nucleotide polymorphisms within sequences encoding HLA class I-restricted CMV epitopes from the immediate early 1 gene of CMV, coinfection with genetically distinct variants of CMV was detected in 52% of patients. However, in spite of exposure to multiple viral variants, the T cell responses in these patients were preferentially directed to a limited repertoire of HLA class I-restricted CMV epitopes, either conserved, variant, or cross-reactive. More importantly, we also demonstrate that long-term control of CMV infection after HSCT is primarily mediated through the efficient induction of stable antiviral T cell immunity irrespective of the nature of the antigenic target. These observations provide important insights for the future design of antiviral T cell-based immunotherapeutic strategies for transplant recipients, emphasizing the critical impact of robust immune reconstitution on efficient control of viral infection. IMPORTANCE Infection and disease caused by human cytomegalovirus (CMV) remain a significant burden in patients undergoing hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT). The establishment of efficient immunological control, primarily mediated by cytotoxic T cells, plays a critical role in preventing CMV-associated disease in transplant recipients. Recent studies have also begun to investigate the impact genetic variation in CMV has upon disease outcome in transplant recipients. In this study, we sought to investigate the role T cell immunity plays in recognizing and controlling genetic variants of CMV. We demonstrate that while a significant proportion of HSCT recipients may be exposed to multiple genetic variants of CMV, this does not necessarily lead to immune control mediated via recognition of this genetic variation. Rather, immune control is associated with the efficient establishment of a stable immune response predominantly directed against immunodominant conserved T cell epitopes.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Medicine
Subjects: R Medicine > R Medicine (General)
Publisher: American Society for Microbiology
ISSN: 0022-538X
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 17 July 2017
Date of Acceptance: 31 May 2016
Last Modified: 17 Jul 2017 11:28

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