Dr Emma Grant – La Trobe Institute for Molecular Science

20/06/2024 10:45 am - 20/06/2024 11:45 am
Davis Auditorium

WEHI Special ACRF Chemical Biology Seminar hosted by Dr Joshua Hardy

Dr Emma Grant

Group Leader and ARC DECRA Fellow

La Trobe Institute for Molecular Science (LIMS), La Trobe University

 Characterisation of novel influenza-derived HLA-B*18:01-restricted epitopes


Davis Auditorium
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Including Q&A session


Seasonal influenza viruses cause roughly 650,000 deaths annually despite available vaccines. CD8+ T cells typically recognise influenza-derived peptides from internal structural and non-structural influenza proteins and are an attractive avenue for future vaccine design as they could reduce the severity of disease following infection with diverse influenza strains. CD8+ T cells recognise peptides presented by the highly polymorphic Human Leukocyte Antigens class I molecules (HLA-I). Each HLA-I variant has distinct peptide binding preferences, representing a significant obstacle for designing vaccines that elicit CD8+ T cell responses across broad populations. Consequently, rational design of a CD8+ T cell mediated vaccine would require the identification of highly immunogenic peptides restricted to a range of different HLA molecules. Here, we assessed the immunogenicity of six recently published novel influenza-derived peptides identified by mass-spectrometry and predicted to bind to the prevalent HLA-B*18:01 molecule. Using CD8+ T cell activation assays, and protein biochemistry, we showed that 3/6 of the novel peptides were immunogenic in several HLA-B*18:01+ individuals and confirmed their HLA-B*18:01 restriction. We subsequently compared CD8+ T cell responses towards the previously identified highly immunogenic HLA-B*18:01-restricted NP219 peptide. Using X-ray crystallography, we solved the first crystal structures of HLA-B*18:01 presenting immunogenic influenza-derived peptides. Finally, we dissected the first TCR repertoires specific for HLA-B*18:01 restricted pathogen-derived peptides, identifying private and restricted repertoires against each of the four peptides. Overall, the characterisation of these novel immunogenic peptides provides additional HLA-B*18:01-restricted vaccine targets derived from the Matrix protein 1 and potentially the Non-Structural Protein and the RNA polymerase catalytic subunit of influenza viruses.



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