In vitro and in vivo characterization of the cytomegalovirus and polyomavirus BK specific immune response

Egli, Adrian. In vitro and in vivo characterization of the cytomegalovirus and polyomavirus BK specific immune response. 2008, Doctoral Thesis, University of Basel, Faculty of Science.


Official URL: http://edoc.unibas.ch/diss/DissB_8740

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During my PhD thesis several aspects of the interaction of Cytomegalovirus
and Polyomavirus BK with the host’s immune system were examined (see list
of publications). The overall aim was to compare immune response in healthy
individuals and kidney transplant recipients with or without viral replication.
In healthy individuals, Polyomaviruses BK and JC infect 80% and 60%,
respectively. For CMV seroprevalences may reach up to 80%. Intermittent
virus shedding in urine is observed for BKV in 7%, JCV in 19% and CMV in
0%. However, no virus replication in plasma was detected. Posttransplant,
mainly due to prolonged immune suppression the amount and function of
CMV- and BKV-specific T-cells is impaired. Calcineurin inhibitors lead to a
direct reduction of INFγ production of virus-specific T-cells, whereas antiproliferative
immunosuppressives reduce the expansion capacity in a dosedependent
manner. This may be a major reason for uncontrolled virus
The humoral response reflects the amount of recent antigen exposure and
does not directly indicate protection from virus replication. Virus-specific
cellular immune responses would probably allow to assessing the risk of
future replication.
Overall the importance of CMV and BKV specific T-cells posttransplant in
controlling virus replication was examined. For both viruses we could
calculate a protective threshold of virus-specific T-cells. CMV-pp65 specific
CD4 T-cells above 0.03% were significantly associated with no CMV
replication during the next eight weeks. Additionally, below this cut-off, CMV
seropositive recipients developed more often GCV-resistant CMV replication.
During BKV replication, patients with more than 69 BKV-LT specific T-cells
per 1 Mio PBMCs were significantly more often showing decreasing BKV
loads in plasma. As virus-specific T-cells seem to be crutial in reducing virus replication, and
reduction of immune suppression harbours the risk of acute rejection, a
booster vaccine could be a new therapeutic option. A booster vaccine could
probably elevate the amount of virus-specific T-cells above a critical threshold
of protection from disease, despite effects of immune suppression.
We tried to identify immunodominant regions with the CMV pp65 and BKV LT
proteins. We used a combined approach of computer prediction algorithms
and experimental verification. Epitope mapping of BKV LT with computer
prediction revealed several clusters, which could be immunodominant and
also potentially be processed and recognized in various HLA backgrounds.
The identified cluster regions were synthesised as 15 and 25mers. Expansion
and re-stimulation with predicted epitopes could so far confirm the HLA A and
B-specific prediction of single 9mers covered by the larger 15 and 25mer
sequences. However, other HLA types need to be tested for direct stimulation
and expansion potential of the predicted epitopes. Additionally, tetramer
staining should be performed for verification.
Based on this research, we will be able to improve current immune monitoring
and probably a high-specific peptide-based vaccine against BKV LT could be
developed and be used to increase the amount of BKV-LT specific T-cells.
Another potentially therapeutic agent could be the blockade of PD1 ligand.
PD1 expression in chronic virus infection lead to impaired CD8+ T-cell
function. CMV-specific CD4 T-cells treated with an inhibitory antibody against
PD1 ligand, and thereby activating CD4+ T-cells, lead to a increase of the
expansion capacity. We have shown, that the anti-PD1 ligand antibody
increases various cytokines. This could be also tested for BK virus.
Measurement of virus-specific T-cells may replace serological assays in the
future, due to a better correlation to effective antiviral control, which can be
used as monitoring tool during infection and post-vaccination.
Advisors:Hirsch, Hans H.
Committee Members:Battegay, Manuel
Faculties and Departments:03 Faculty of Medicine > Departement Biomedizin > Division of Medical Microbiology > Transplantation Virology (Hirsch)
UniBasel Contributors:Egli, Adrian and Hirsch, Hans H.
Item Type:Thesis
Thesis Subtype:Doctoral Thesis
Thesis no:8740
Thesis status:Complete
Number of Pages:193
Identification Number:
edoc DOI:
Last Modified:22 Jan 2018 15:51
Deposited On:25 Aug 2009 14:48

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