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SARS-CoV-2 proteins

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    Tissue-resident memory CD8 HGNC T-cell responses elicited by a single injection of a multi-target COVID-19 MESHD vaccine

    Authors: Vanessa Gauttier; Aurore Morello; Isabelle Girault; Caroline Mary; Lyssia Belarif; Arianne Desselle; Emmanuelle Wilhelm; Thomas Bourquard; Sabrina Pengam; Geraldine Teppaz; Virginie Thepenier; Kevin Biteau; Estelle De Barbeyrac; Delphine Kiepferle; Berangere Vasseur; Francois-Xavier Le Flem; Didier Debieuvre; Dominique Costantini; Nicolas Poirier

    doi:10.1101/2020.08.14.240093 Date: 2020-08-14 Source: bioRxiv

    The COVID-19 MESHD COVID-19 MESHD pandemic is caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 MESHD (SARS-CoV-2) which enters the body principally through the nasal and larynx mucosa and progress to the lungs through the respiratory tract. SARS-CoV-2 replicates efficiently in respiratory epithelial cells motivating the development of alternative and rapidly scalable vaccine inducing mucosal protective and long-lasting immunity. We have previously developed an immunologically optimized multi-neoepitopes-based peptide vaccine platform which has already demonstrated tolerance and efficacy in hundreds of lung cancer MESHD patients. Here, we present a multi-target CD8 HGNC T cell peptide COVID-19 MESHD vaccine design targeting several structural (S, M, N) and non-structural (NSPs) SARS-CoV-2 proteins MESHD with selected epitopes in conserved regions of the SARS-CoV-2 genome. We observed that a single subcutaneous injection of a serie of epitopes induces a robust immunogenicity in-vivo as measured by IFN{gamma HGNC} ELIspot. Upon tetramer characterization we found that this serie of epitopes induces a strong proportion of virus-specific CD8 HGNC T cells expressing CD103 HGNC, CD44 HGNC, CXCR3 HGNC and CD49a HGNC, the specific phenotype of tissue-resident memory T lymphocytes (Trm). Finally, we observed broad cellular responses, as characterized by IFN{gamma HGNC} production, upon restimulation with structural and non-structural protein-derived epitopes using blood T cells isolated from convalescent asymptomatic, moderate and severe COVID-19 MESHD patients. These data provide insights for further development of a second generation of COVID-19 MESHD vaccine focused on inducing lasting Th1-biased memory CD8 HGNC T cell sentinels protection using immunodominant epitopes naturally observed after SARS-CoV-2 infection MESHD resolution. Statement of SignificanceHumoral and cellular adaptive immunity are different and complementary immune defenses engaged by the body to clear viral infection. While neutralizing antibodies have the capacity to block virus binding to its entry receptor expressed on human cells, memory T lymphocytes have the capacity to eliminate infected cells and are required for viral clearance. However, viruses evolve quickly, and their antigens are prone to mutations to avoid recognition by the antibodies (phenomenon named antigenic drift). This limitation of the antibody-mediated immunity could be addressed by the T-cell mediated immunity, which is able to recognize conserved viral peptides from any viral proteins presented by virus-infected cells. Thus, by targeting several proteins and conserved regions on the genome of a virus, T-cell epitope-based vaccines are less subjected to mutations and may work effectively on different strains of the virus. We designed a multi-target T cell-based vaccine containing epitope regions optimized for CD8 HGNC+ T cell stimulation that would drive long-lasting cellular immunity with high specificity, avoiding undesired effects such as antibody-dependent enhancement (ADE) and antibody-induced macrophages hyperinflammation that could be observed in subjects with severe COVID-19 MESHD. Our in-vivo results showed that a single injection of selected CD8 HGNC T cell epitopes induces memory viral-specific T-cell responses with a phenotype of tissue-resident memory T cells (Trm). Trm has attracted a growing interest for developing vaccination strategies since they act as immune sentinels in barrier tissue such as the respiratory tract and the lung. Because of their localization in tissues, they are able to immediately recognize infected cells and, because of their memory phenotypes, they rapidly respond to viral infection by orchestrating local protective immune responses to eliminate pathogens. Lastly, such multiepitope-based vaccination platform uses robust and well-validated synthetic peptide production technologies that can be rapidly manufactured in a distributed manner.

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MeSH Disease
HGNC Genes
SARS-CoV-2 Proteins


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