Human CD8+ CTL specific for the mycobacterial major secreted antigen 85A.
Smith SM., Brookes R., Klein MR., Malin AS., Lukey PT., King AS., Ogg GS., Hill AV., Dockrell HM.
The role of CD8(+) CTL in protection against tuberculosis in human disease is unclear. In this study, we stimulated the peripheral blood mononuclear cells of bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG)-vaccinated individuals with live Mycobacterium bovis BCG bacilli to establish short-term cell lines and then purified the CD8(+) T cells. A highly sensitive enzyme-linked immunospot (ELISPOT) assay for single cell IFN-gamma release was used to screen CD8(+) T cells with overlapping peptides spanning the mycobacterial major secreted protein, Ag85A. Three peptides consistently induced a high frequency of IFN-gamma responsive CD8(+) T cells, and two HLA-A*0201 binding motifs, P(48-56) and P(242-250), were revealed within the core sequences. CD8(+) T cells responding to the 9-mer epitopes were visualized within fresh blood by ELISPOT using free peptide or by binding of HLA-A*0201 tetrameric complexes. The class I-restricted CD8(+) T cells were potent CTL effector cells that efficiently lysed an HLA-A2-matched monocyte cell line pulsed with peptide as well as autologous macrophages infected with Mycobacterium tuberculosis or recombinant vaccinia virus expressing the whole Ag85A protein. Tetramer assays revealed a 6-fold higher frequency of peptide-specific T cells than IFN-gamma ELISPOT assays, indicating functional heterogeneity within the CD8(+) T cell population. These results demonstrate a previously unrecognized, MHC class I-restricted, CD8(+) CTL response to a major secreted Ag of mycobacteria and supports the use of Ag85A as a candidate vaccine against tuberculosis.