Cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection continues to be a complication in recipients of hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT). Preexisting donor immunity is recognized as a favorable prognostic factor for the reconstitution of protective antiviral immunity mediated primarily by CD8 T cells. Furthermore, adoptive transfer of CMV-specific memory CD8 T (CD8-TM) cells is a therapeutic option for preventing CMV disease in HSCT recipients. Given the different CMV infection histories of donor and recipient, a problem may arise from an antigenic mismatch between the CMV variant that has primed donor immunity and the CMV variant acquired by the recipient. Here, we have used the BALB/c mouse model of CMV infection in the immunocompromised host to evaluate the importance of donor-recipient CMV matching in immundominant epitopes (IDEs). For this, we generated the murine CMV (mCMV) recombinant virus mCMV-AIDE, in which the two memory repertoire IDEs, the IE1-derived peptide 168-YPHFMPTNL-176 presented by the major histocompatibility complex class I (MHC-I) molecule Ld and the m164-derived peptide 257-AGPPRYSRI-265 presented by the MHC-I molecule Dd, are both functionally deleted. Upon adoptive transfer, polyclonal donor CD8-TM cells primed by mCMV-ΔIDE and the corresponding revertant virus mCMV-revΔIDE controlled infection of immunocompromised recipients with comparable efficacy and regardless of whether or not IDEs were presented in the recipients. Importantly, CD8-TM cells primed under conditions of immunodomination by IDEs protected recipients in which IDEs were absent. This shows that protection does not depend on compensatory expansion of non-IDE-specific CD8-TM cells liberated from immunodomination by the deletion of IDEs. We conclude that protection is, rather, based on the collective antiviral potential of non-IDEs independent of the presence or absence of IDE-mediated immunodomination.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Insect Science