Identification of a CD4 T-cell epitope in the hemagglutinin stalk domain of pandemic H1N1 influenza virus and its antigen-driven TCR usage signature in BALB/c mice.

  • Clinical and Applied Virology
June 01, 2016 By:
  • Lu IN
  • Farinelle S
  • Sausy A
  • Muller CP.

The stalk region of the influenza virus hemagglutinin is relatively well conserved compared with the globular head domain, which makes it a potential target for use as a universal vaccine against influenza. However, the role of CD4 T cells in the hemagglutinin stalk-specific immune response is not clear. Here we identified a mouse CD4 T-cell epitope that encompasses residues HA2113-131 from the hemagglutinin stalk domain after a sub-lethal infection of influenza. In response to stimulation with the identified epitope, splenocytes derived from the infected mice showed significant polyfunctionality as shown by IL-2, TNF-alpha and IFN-gamma production as well as degranulation. Moreover, mice immunized with the peptide corresponding to this CD4 T-cell epitope exhibited interindividual sharing of the CD4 T-cell receptor beta sequences, and they had a higher survival rate following a challenge with a lethal dose of pandemic H1N1 influenza virus. Thus, our data demonstrated a crucial role of hemagglutinin stalk-specific CD4 T cells in the host immune response against influenza virus infection.

2016 Jun. Cell Mol Immunol.14(6):511-520. Epub 2016 May 9.
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