Priming with SARS CoV S DNA and boosting with SARS CoV S epitopes specific for CD4+ and CD8+ T cells promote cellular immune responses

Jun Huang, Yingnan Cao, Jiali Du, Xianzhang Bu, Rui Ma, Changyou Wu
Vaccine 2007 September 28, 25 (39): 6981-91
Cellular immune response plays an important role in antiviral immunity. In our previous study, immunization of mice with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS CoV) spike (S) DNA vaccine could induce both humoral and cellular immunity in response to a pool of entire overlapping S peptides. Identification of functional dominant epitopes in SARS CoV S protein for T cells is crucial for further understanding of cellular immune responses elicited by SARS CoV S DNA vaccine. In present study, mice were immunized with SARS CoV S DNA vaccine. Subsequently, a pool of 17-19 mers overlapped SARS CoV S peptides, which served as immunogens, were scanned to identify the specific epitopes for T cells. Two H-2(d) restricted CD4(+) T epitopes, N60 (S435-444) and P152 (S1111-1127), and two H-2(d) restricted CD8(+) T cell epitopes, N50 (S365-374) and P141 (S1031-1047) were identified by three different methods, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), enzyme linked immunospot assay (ELISPOT) and fluorescence activated cell sorter (FACS). The dominant CD4(+) T cell epitope (N60) and CD8(+) T cell epitope (N50) located in the receptor-binding domain (RBD) of SARS CoV S protein, which mediated virus combining and fusing to susceptible cells. Importantly, our novel finding is that mice primed with SARS S DNA vaccine and boosted with T cell epitopes (N50 and N60) could promote antigen specific CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cell immune responses. Our study provides valuable information for the design of vaccine for SARS study.

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