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T-cell recognition of the HspX protein of Mycobacterium tuberculosis correlates with latent M. tuberculosis infection but not with M. bovis BCG vaccination.

Authors
Type
Published Article
Journal
Infection and immunity
Publication Date
Volume
75
Issue
6
Pages
2914–2921
Identifiers
PMID: 17387166
Source
Medline

Abstract

During stationary growth or in vitro conditions mimicking relevant aspects of latency, the HspX protein (Rv2031c) is specifically upregulated by Mycobacterium tuberculosis. In this study we compared T-cell responses against HspX and the secreted M. tuberculosis protein Ag85B (Rv1886c) in tuberculosis (TB) patients, tuberculin skin test-positive individuals, M. bovis BCG-vaccinated individuals, and healthy negative controls. Gamma interferon responses to HspX were significantly higher in M. tuberculosis-exposed individuals than in M. tuberculosis-unexposed BCG vaccinees. In contrast, no such differences were found with respect to T-cell responses against Ag85B. Therefore, BCG-based vaccines containing relevant fragments of HspX may induce improved responses against this TB latency antigen. To identify relevant major histocompatibility complex class I- and class II-restricted HspX-specific T-cell epitopes, we immunized HLA-A2/K(b) and HLA-DR3.Ab(0) transgenic (tg) mice with HspX. Two new T-cell epitopes were identified, p91-105 and p31-50, restricted via HLA-A*0201 and HLA-DRB1*0301, respectively. These epitopes were recognized by human T cells as well, underlining the relevance of HspX T-cell recognition both in vivo and in vitro. In line with the data in humans, BCG immunization of both tg strains did not lead to T-cell responses against HspX-derived epitopes, whereas nonlatency antigens were efficiently recognized. These data support the notion that BCG vaccination per se does not induce T-cell responses against the latency antigen, HspX. Thus, we suggest that subunit vaccines incorporating HspX and/or other latency antigens, as well as recombinant BCG strains expressing latency antigens need to be considered as new vaccines against TB.

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