Since severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2, COVID-19) was first reported in China in December 2019, various variants have been identified in different areas of the world such as United Kingdom (alpha), South Africa (beta and omicron), Brazil (gamma), and India (delta). Some of SARS-CoV-2 variants, each of which is characterized by a unique mutation(s) in spike protein, are concerned due to their high infectivity and the capability to escape from neutralizing antibodies elicited by vaccinations. To identify peptide epitopes that are derived from SARS-CoV-2 viral proteins and possibly induce CD8+ T cell immunity, we investigated SARS-CoV-2-derived peptides that are likely to bind to major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I molecules. We identified a total of 15 peptides that bind to human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-A*24:02, HLA-A*02:01, or HLA-A*02:06, and possibly induce cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs); thirteen of them corresponded to ORF1ab polyprotein, one peptide to spike protein and the remaining one to membrane glycoprotein. CD8+ T cells that recognize these peptides were detected in peripheral blood samples in three individuals recovered from COVID-19 as well as non-infected individuals. Since most of these peptides are commonly conserved among other coronaviruses including SARS-CoV and/or MERS-CoV, these might be useful to maintain T cell responses to coronaviruses that are pandemic at present and will become the future threat. We could define pairs of TRA and TRB sequences of nine CTL clones that recognize SARS-CoV-2-derived peptides. We might use these SARS-CoV-2-derived peptide-reactive TCR sequences for investigating the history of SARS-CoV-2 infection.

Fuente: Journal of Human Genetics

Published: 02 February 2022