A role for inter-cellular antigen transfer in the recognition of Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)-transformed B cell lines by EBV nuclear antigen-specific CD4+ T cells

Graham Taylor, Heather Long, Tracey Haigh, Martin Larsen, Jill Brooks, Alan Rickinson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

61 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The CD4(+) T cell response to EBV may have an important role in controlling virus-driven B lymphoproliferation because CD4(+) T cell clones to a subset of EBV nuclear Ag (EBNA) epitopes can directly recognize virus-trinsformed lymphoblastoid. cell lines (LCLs) in vitro and inhibit their growth. In this study, we used a panel of EBNA1, 2, 3A, and 3C-specific CD4(+) T cell clones to study the route whereby endogenously expressed EBNAs access the HLA class II-presentation pathway. Two sets of results spoke against a direct route of intracellular access. First, none of the clones recognized cognate Ag overexpressed in cells from vaccinia vectors but did recognize Ag fused to an endo/lysosomal targeting sequence. Second, focusing on clones with the strongest LCL recognition that were specific for EBNA2- and EBNA3C-derived epitopes LCL recognition was unaffected by inhibiting autophagy, a postulated route for intracellular Ag delivery into the HLA class II pathway in LCL cells. Subsequently, using these same epitope-specific clones, we found that Ag-negative cells with the appropriate HLA-restricting allele could be efficiently sensitized to CD4(+) T cell recognition by cocultivation with Ag-positive donor lines or by exposure to donor line-conditioned culture medium. Sensitization was mediated by a high m.w. antigenic species and required active Ag processing by recipient cells. We infer that intercellular Ag transfer plays a major role in the presentation of EBNA-derived CD4 epitopes by latently infected target cells.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3746-3756
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Immunology
Volume177
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2006

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