Cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL) are critical for lentivirus control including EIAV. Since CTL from most EIAV carrier horses recognize Gag epitope clusters (EC), the hypothesis that carrier horses would have high functional avidity CTL to optimal epitopes in Gag EC was tested. Twenty-two optimal EC epitopes were identified; two in EC1, six in EC2, and seven each in EC3 and 4. However, only five of nine horses had high functional avidity CTL (≤11 nM) recognizing six epitopes in EC; four in relatively conserved EC3; and one each in EC1 and 2. Horses with high functional avidity CTL had significantly more days since the last clinical episode than horses with low avidity CTL, and this was not explained by analyzing duration of infection. Furthermore, there was a significant inverse correlation between the CTL functional avidity of the nine horses and the days since the last clinical episode. Gag CTL epitope escape variants were found in three horses, but only one of these was recognized by high functional avidity CTL. Thus, not all carrier horses had high functional avidity CTL to Gag EC, but those that did had longer periods without disease episodes.
CTL; Epitope cluster; EIAV; Lentivirus; Functional avidity; Gag; Matrix; Capsid
Cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL) are critical for control of lentiviruses, including equine infectious anemia virus (EIAV). Measurement of equine CTL responses has relied on chromium-release assays, which do not allow accurate quantitation. Recently, the equine MHC class I molecule 7-6, associated with the ELA-A1 haplotype, was shown to present both the Gag-GW12 and Env-RW12 EIAV CTL epitopes. In this study, 7-6/Gag-GW12 and 7-6/Env-RW12 MHC class I/peptide tetrameric complexes were constructed and used to analyze Gag-GW12- and Env-RW12-specific CTL responses in two EIAV-infected horses (A2164 and A2171). Gag-GW12 and Env-RW12 tetramer-positive CD8+ cells were identified in nonstimulated peripheral blood mononuclear cells as early as 14 days post-EIAV inoculation, and frequencies of tetramer-positive cells ranged from 0.4% to 6.7% of nonstimulated peripheral blood CD8+ cells during the 127-day study period. Although both horses terminated the initial viremic peak, only horse A2171 effectively controlled viral load. Neutralizing antibody was present during the initial control of viral load in both horses, but the ability to maintain control correlated with Gag-GW12-specific CD8+ cells in A2171. Despite Env-RW12 dominance, Env-RW12 escape viral variants were identified in both horses and there was no correlation between Env-RW12-specific CD8+ cells and control of viral load. Although Gag-GW12 CTL escape did not occur, a Gag-GW12 epitope variant arose in A2164 that was recognized less efficiently than the original epitope. These data indicate that tetramers are useful for identification and quantitation of CTL responses in horses, and suggest that the observed control of EIAV replication and clinical disease was associated with sustained CTL recognition of Gag-specific epitopes.
EIAV; Viral load; CD8+ lymphocyte frequency; Tetramers; CTL; CTL escape
Acute infection with equine infectious anemia virus (EIAV), a lentivirus of horses, results in a persistent high-level viremia in Arabian foals affected with severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID). This observation argues against the idea that the transient nature of acute lentiviral viremia is solely a function of viral population dynamics. To extend these studies, EIAV-specific immune reconstitution was attempted prior to EIAV challenge in 2 SCID foals, using adoptively transferred virus-stimulated lymphocytes derived from persistently EIAV-infected half sibling donors. Following transfer, lymphocyte engraftment occurred in 1 foal, and EIAV-specific cytotoxic T lymphocytes as well as neutralizing antibody activity developed. Following a brief period of plasma viremia in this foal, EIAV replication was controlled and plasma virus could not be detected by RT-PCR or culture. These results provide further direct evidence that a specific immune response is required for termination of plasma viremia in acute lentiviral infections.
EIAV; lentivirus; equine; adoptive transfer; SCID; CTL; lymphocyte engraftment
Equine infectious anemia virus (EIAV) is a lentivirus that causes persistent infections in horses. We hypothesized that high-avidity CTL specific for nonvariable epitopes might be associated with low viral load and minimal disease in EIAV-infected horses. To test this hypothesis, memory CTL (CTLm) responses were analyzed in two infected horses with high plasma viral loads and recurrent disease (progressors), and in two infected horses with low-to-undetectable viral loads and mild disease (nonprogressors). High-avidity CTLm in one progressor recognized an envelope gp90 epitope, and the data documented for the first time in EIAV that viral variation led to CTL escape. Each of the nonprogressors had high-to-moderate avidity CTLm directed against epitopes within Rev, including the nuclear export and nuclear localization domains. These results suggested that the epitope specificity of high- and moderate-avidity CTLm was an important determinant for disease outcome in the EIAV-infected horses examined.
EIAV; Lentivirus; Horse; CTL; CTL escape; Functional avidity; Rev; Viral variation; Viral load; Nonprogressor
Although CTL are critical for control of lentiviruses, including equine infectious anemia virus, relatively little is known regarding the MHC class I molecules that present important epitopes to equine infectious anemia virus-specific CTL. The equine class I molecule 7-6 is associated with the equine leukocyte Ag (ELA)-A1 haplotype and presents the Env-RW12 and Gag-GW12 CTL epitopes. Some ELA-A1 target cells present both epitopes, whereas others are not recognized by Gag-GW12-specific CTL, suggesting that the ELA-A1 haplotype comprises functionally distinct alleles. The Rev-QW11 CTL epitope is also ELA-A1-restricted, but the molecule that presents Rev-QW11 is unknown. To determine whether functionally distinct class I molecules present ELA-A1-restricted CTL epitopes, we sequenced and expressed MHC class I genes from three ELA-A1 horses. Two horses had the 7-6 allele, which when expressed, presented Env-RW12, Gag-GW12, and Rev-QW11 to CTL. The other horse had a distinct allele, designated 141, encoding a molecule that differed from 7-6 by a single amino acid within the α-2 domain. This substitution did not affect recognition of Env-RW12, but resulted in more efficient recognition of Rev-QW11. Significantly, CTL recognition of Gag-GW12 was abrogated, despite Gag-GW12 binding to 141. Molecular modeling suggested that conformational changes in the 141/Gag-GW12 complex led to a loss of TCR recognition. These results confirmed that the ELA-A1 haplotype is comprised of functionally distinct alleles, and demonstrated for the first time that naturally occurring MHC class I molecules that vary by only a single amino acid can result in significantly different patterns of epitope recognition by lentivirus-specific CTL.
Cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL) are important for controlling equine infectious anemia virus (EIAV). Because Gag matrix (MA) and capsid (CA) are the most frequently recognized proteins, the hypothesis that CTL from EIAV-infected horses with diverse MHC class I alleles recognize epitope clusters (EC) in these proteins was tested. Four EC were identified by CTL from 15 horses and 8 of these horses had diverse MHC class I alleles. Two of the eight had CTL to EC1, six to EC2, five to EC3, and four to EC4. Because EC2–4 were recognized by CTL from >50% of horses with diverse alleles, the hypothesis was accepted. EC1 and EC3 were the most conserved EC and these more conserved broadly recognized EC may be most useful for CTL induction, helping overcome MHC class I polymorphism and antigenic variation.
Cytotoxic T lymphocyte; Equine infectious anemia virus; Gag; Matrix; Capsid; Epitope cluster; Horse MHC class I allele
Rift Valley fever (RVF) is an epizootic viral disease of sheep that can be transmitted from sheep to humans, particularly by contact with aborted fetuses. A capripoxvirus (CPV) recombinant virus (rKS1/RVFV) was developed, which expressed the Rift Valley fever virus (RVFV) Gn and Gc glycoproteins. These expressed glycoproteins had the correct size and reacted with monoclonal antibodies (MAb) to native glycoproteins. Mice vaccinated with rKS1/RVFV were protected against RVFV challenge. Sheep vaccinated with rKS1/RVFV twice developed neutralizing antibodies and were significantly protected against RVFV and sheep poxvirus challenge. These findings further document the value of CPV recombinants as ruminant vaccine vectors and support the inclusion of RVFV genes encoding glycoproteins in multivalent recombinant vaccines to be used where RVF occurs.
Although CTL are important for control of lentiviruses, including equine infectious anemia virus (EIAV), it is not known if CTL can limit lentiviral replication in the absence of CD4 help and neutralizing antibody. Adoptive transfer of EIAV-specific CTL clones into severe combined immunodeficient (SCID) foals could resolve this issue, but it is not known whether exogenous IL-2 administration is sufficient to support the engraftment and proliferation of CTL clones infused into immunodeficient horses. To address this question we adoptively transferred EIAV Rev-specific CTL clones into four EIAV-challenged SCID foals, concurrent with low-dose aldesleukin (180,000 U/m2), a modified recombinant human IL-2 (rhuIL-2) product. The dose was calculated based on the specific activity on equine PBMC in vitro, and resulted in plasma concentrations considered sufficient to saturate high affinity IL-2 receptors in humans. Despite specific activity on equine PBMC that was equivalent to recombinant equine IL-2 and another form of rhuIL-2, aldesleukin did not support the engraftment and expansion of infused CTL clones, and control of viral load and clinical disease did not occur. It was concluded that survival of Rev-specific CTL clones infused into EIAV-challenged SCID foals was not enhanced by aldesleukin at the doses used in this study, and that in vitro specific activity did not correlate with in vivo efficacy. Successful adoptive immunotherapy with CTL clones in immunodeficient horses will likely require higher doses of rhuIL-2, co-infusion of CD4+ T lymphocytes, or administration of equine IL-2.
EIAV; horse; SCID; CTL; adoptive transfer; IL-2
Effective DNA-based vaccines against lentiviruses will likely induce CTL against conserved viral proteins. Equine infectious anemia virus (EIAV) infects horses worldwide, and serves as a useful model for lentiviral immune control. Although attenuated live EIAV vaccines have induced protective immune responses, DNA-based vaccines have not. In particular, DNA-based vaccines have had limited success in inducing CTL responses against intracellular pathogens in the horse. We hypothesized that priming with a codon-optimized plasmid encoding EIAV Gag p15/p26 with co-administration of a plasmid encoding an equine IL-2/IgG fusion protein as a molecular adjuvant, followed by boosting with a vaccinia vector expressing Gag p15/p26, would induce protective Gag-specific CTL responses. Although the regimen induced Gag-specific CTL in four of seven vaccinated horses, CTL were not detected until after the vaccinia boost, and protective effects were not observed in EIAV challenged vaccinates. Unexpectedly, vaccinates had significantly higher viral loads and more severe clinical disease, associated with the presence of vaccine-induced CTL. It was concluded that 1.) further optimization of the timing and route of DNA immunization was needed for efficient CTL priming in vivo, 2.) co-administration of the IL-2/IgG plasmid did not enhance CTL priming by the Gag p15/p26 plasmid, 3.) vaccinia vectors are useful for lentivirus-specific CTL induction in the horse, 4.) Gag-specific CTL alone are either insufficient or a more robust Gag-specific CTL response is needed to limit EIAV viremia and clinical disease, and 5.) CTL-inducing vaccines lacking envelope immunogens can result in lentiviral disease enhancement. Although the mechanisms for enhancement associated with this vaccine regimen remain to be elucidated, these results have important implications for development of lentivirus T cell vaccines.
A competitive enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (cELISA) based on a broadly conserved, species-specific, B-cell epitope within the C terminus of Babesia bigemina rhoptry-associated protein 1a was validated for international use. Receiver operating characteristic analysis revealed 16% inhibition as the threshold for a negative result, with an associated specificity of 98.3% and sensitivity of 94.7%. Increasing the threshold to 21% increased the specificity to 100% but modestly decreased the sensitivity to 87.2%. By using 21% inhibition, the positive predictive values ranged from 90.7% (10% prevalence) to 100% (95% prevalence) and the negative predictive values ranged from 97.0% (10% prevalence) to 48.2% (95% prevalence). The assay was able to detect serum antibody as early as 7 days after intravenous inoculation. The cELISA was distributed to five different laboratories along with a reference set of 100 defined bovine serum samples, including known positive, known negative, and field samples. The pairwise concordance among the five laboratories ranged from 100% to 97%, and all kappa values were above 0.8, indicating a high degree of reliability. Overall, the cELISA appears to have the attributes necessary for international application.
Cytotoxic T lymphocytes are involved in controlling intracellular pathogens in many species, including horses. Particularly, CTL are critical for the control of equine infectious anemia virus (EIAV), a lentivirus that infects horses world-wide. In humans and animal models, CTL clones are valuable for evaluating the fine specificity of epitope recognition, and for adoptive immunotherapy against infectious and neoplastic diseases. Cloned CTL would be equally useful for similar studies in the horse. Here we present the first analysis of a method to generate equine CTL clones. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells were obtained from an EIAV-infected horse and stimulated with the EIAV Rev-QW11 peptide. Sorted CD8+ T cells were cloned by limiting dilution, and expanded without further antigen addition using irradiated PBMC, anti-equine CD3, and human recombinant IL-2. Clones could be frozen and thawed without detrimental effects, and could be subsequently expanded to numbers exceeding 2 × 109 cells. Flow cytometry of expanded clones confirmed the CD3+/CD8+ phenotype, and chromium release assays confirmed CTL activity. Finally, sequencing TCR beta chain genes confirmed clonality. Our results provide a reliable means to generate large numbers of epitope-specific equine CTL clones that are suitable for use in downstream applications, including functional assays and adoptive transfer studies.
A previously developed competitive enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (cELISA) based on a species-specific, broadly conserved, and tandemly repeated B-cell epitope within the C terminus of rhoptry-associated protein 1 of Babesia bovis was refined and validated for use internationally. Receiver operating characteristic analysis revealed an assay with a specificity and positive predictive value of 100% and a sensitivity of 91.1%, with various negative predictive values depending on the level of disease prevalence. The cELISA was distributed to four different laboratories, along with a reference set of 100 defined bovine sera, including known-positive, known-negative, and field samples. Pairwise concordances among the four laboratories ranged from 94% to 88%. Analysis of variance of the resulting optical densities and a test of homogeneity indicated no significant difference among the laboratories. Overall, the cELISA appears to have the attributes necessary for international application.
The protective major surface protein 1 (MSP1) complex of Anaplasma marginale is a heteromer of MSP1a and MSP1b, encoded by a multigene family. The msp1β sequences were highly conserved throughout infection. However, liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry analysis identified only a single MSP1b protein, MSP1b1, within the MSP1 complex.
In this study, the kinetics of specific immunoglobulin G (IgG) isotypes were characterized in Babesia equi (Theileria equi)-infected horses. IgGa and IgGb developed during acute infection, whereas IgG(T) was detected only after resolution of acute parasitemia. The same IgG isotype profile induced during acute infection was obtained by equi merozoite antigen 1/saponin immunization.
Immunization with purified Anaplasma marginale outer membranes induces complete protection against infection that is associated with CD4+ T-lymphocyte-mediated gamma interferon secretion and immunoglobulin G2 (IgG2) antibody titers. However, knowledge of the composition of the outer membrane immunogen is limited. Recent sequencing and annotation of the A. marginale genome predicts at least 62 outer membrane proteins (OMP), enabling a proteomic and genomic approach for identification of novel OMP by use of IgG serum antibody from outer membrane vaccinates. Outer membrane proteins were separated by two-dimensional electrophoresis, and proteins recognized by total IgG and IgG2 in immune sera of outer membrane-vaccinated cattle were detected by immunoblotting. Immunoreactive protein spots were excised and subjected to liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry. A database search of the A. marginale genome identified 24 antigenic proteins that were predicted to be outer membrane, inner membrane, or membrane-associated proteins. These included the previously characterized surface-exposed outer membrane proteins MSP2, operon associated gene 2 (OpAG2), MSP3, and MSP5 as well as recently identified appendage-associated proteins. Among the 21 newly described antigenic proteins, 14 are annotated in the A. marginale genome and include type IV secretion system proteins, elongation factor Tu, and members of the MSP2 superfamily. The identification of these novel antigenic proteins markedly expands current understanding of the composition of the protective immunogen and provides new candidates for vaccine development.
The effect of immunization with five lipopeptides, three containing T-helper (Th) epitopes and two with both Th and cytotoxic T-lymphocyte (CTL) epitopes, on equine infectious anemia virus (EIAV) challenge was evaluated. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells from EIAV lipopeptide-immunized horses had significant proliferative responses to Th peptides compared with those preimmunization, and the responses were attributed to significant responses to peptides Gag from positions 221 to 245 (Gag 221-245), Gag 250-269, and Pol 326-347; however, there were no consistent CTL responses. The significant proliferative responses in the EIAV lipopeptide-immunized horses allowed testing of the hypothesis that Th responses to immunization would enhance Th and CTL responses following EIAV challenge and lessen the viral load and the severity of clinical disease. The EIAV lipopeptide-immunized group did have a significant increase in proliferative responses to Th peptides 1 week after virus challenge, whereas the control group did not. Two weeks after challenge, a significant CTL response to virus-infected cell targets occurred in the EIAV lipopeptide-immunized group compared to that in the control group. These Th and CTL responses did not significantly alter either the number of viral RNA copies/ml or disease severity. Thus, lipopeptide-induced proliferative responses and enhanced Th and CTL responses early after virus challenge were unable to control challenge virus load and clinical disease.
The B-lymphocyte-immunodominant antigen involved in naturally ovine progressive pneumonia virus (OPPV)-infected mature sheep remains unknown. Therefore, the amount of antibody in sera from 10 naturally OPPV-infected sheep was evaluated by immunoprecipitation (IP) of the major viral proteins in [35S]methionine/cysteine-labeled OPPV (whole virus) lysate. Using an excess of OPPV proteins in whole-virus lysate, 8 out of 10 sheep had the highest serum antibody IP endpoint titers to the gp135 surface envelope glycoprotein (SU). Also, 2 out of 10 sheep had equivalent serum antibody IP endpoint titers to the transmembrane glycoprotein oligomer (TM90) and SU. Since these data indicate that SU is the immunodominant protein in most mature sheep persistently infected with OPPV, SU-specific diagnostic serological assays can be utilized for OPPV diagnosis.
Rhodococcus equi is an important cause of pneumonia in young horses; however, adult horses are immune due to their ability to mount protective recall responses. In this study, the hypothesis that R. equi-specific cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL) are present in the lung of immune horses was tested. Bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL)-derived pulmonary T lymphocytes stimulated with R. equi lysed infected alveolar macrophages and peripheral blood adherent cells (PBAC). As with CTL obtained from the blood, killing of R. equi-infected targets by pulmonary effectors was not restricted by equine lymphocyte alloantigen-A (ELA-A; classical major histocompatibility complex class I), suggesting a novel or nonclassical method of antigen presentation. To determine whether or not CTL activity coincided with the age-associated susceptibility to rhodococcal pneumonia, CTL were evaluated in foals. R. equi-stimulated peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) from 3-week-old foals were unable to lyse either autologous perinatal or mismatched adult PBAC targets. The defect was not with the perinatal targets, as adult CTL effectors efficiently killed infected targets from 3-week-old foals. In contrast, significant CTL activity was present in three of five foals at 6 weeks of age, and significant specific lysis was induced by PBMC from all foals at 8 weeks of age. As with adults, lysis was ELA-A unrestricted. Two previously described monoclonal antibodies, BCD1b3 and CD1F2/1B12.1, were used to examine the expression of CD1, a nonclassical antigen-presenting molecule, on CTL targets. These antibodies cross-reacted with both foal and adult PBAC. However, neither antibody bound alveolar macrophages, suggesting that the R. equi-specific, major histocompatibility complex-unrestricted lysis is not restricted by a surface molecule identified by these antibodies.
Previously, our laboratory showed that Holstein cattle experimentally infected with Neospora caninum develop parasite-specific CD4+ cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL) that lyse infected, autologous target cells through a perforin-granzyme pathway. To identify specific parasite antigens inducing bovine CTL and helper T-lymphocyte responses for vaccine development against bovine neosporosis, the tachyzoite major surface proteins NcSAG1 and NcSRS2 were targeted. In whole tachyzoite antigen-expanded bovine T-lymphocyte lines, recombinant NcSRS2 induced potent memory CD4+- and CD8+-T-lymphocyte activation, as indicated by proliferation and gamma interferon (IFN-γ) secretion, while recombinant NcSAG1 induced a minimal memory response. Subsequently, T-lymphocyte epitope-bearing peptides of NcSRS2 were mapped by using overlapping peptides covering the entire NcSRS2 sequence. Four experimentally infected cattle with six different major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class II haplotypes were the source of immune cells used to identify NcSRS2 peptides presented by Holstein MHC haplotypes. NcSRS2 peptides were mapped by using IFN-γ secretion by rNcSRS2-stimulated, short-term T-lymphocyte cell lines, IFN-γ enzyme-linked immunospot (ELISPOT) assay with peripheral blood mononuclear cells, and 51Cr release cytotoxicity assay of rNcSRS2-stimulated effector cells. Four N. caninum-infected Holstein cattle developed NcSRS2 peptide-specific T lymphocytes detected ex vivo in peripheral blood by IFN-γ ELISPOT and in vitro by measuring T-lymphocyte IFN-γ production and cytotoxicity. An immunodominant region of NcSRS2 spanning amino acids 133 to 155 was recognized by CD4+ T lymphocytes from the four cattle. These findings support investigation of subunit N. caninum vaccines incorporating NcSRS2 gene sequences or peptides for induction of NcSRS2 peptide-specific CTL and IFN-γ-secreting T lymphocytes in cattle with varied MHC genotypes.
The goal of this research was to examine the role of cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL) in the control of Rhodococcus equi and specifically to determine if R. equi-specific CD8+ CTL occurred in the blood of immune horses. Equine peripheral blood mononuclear cells stimulated with antigen-presenting cells either infected with R. equi or exposed to soluble R. equi antigen lysed R. equi-infected target cells. Lysis was decreased to background by depletion of either CD2+ or CD3+ cells, indicating that the effector cell had a T-lymphocyte, but not NK cell, phenotype. Stimulation induced an increased percentage of CD8+ T cells in the effector population, and depletion of CD8+ T cells resulted in significantly decreased lysis of infected targets. Killing of R. equi-infected macrophages by effector cells was equally effective against autologous and equine leukocyte antigen A (classical major histocompatibility complex [MHC] class I) mismatched targets. To evaluate potential target antigens, target cells were infected with either virulent (80.6-kb plasmid-containing) or avirulent (plasmid-cured) R. equi. The degree of lysis was not altered by the presence of the plasmid, providing evidence that the virulence plasmid, which is required for survival within macrophages, was not necessary for recognition and killing of R. equi-infected cells. These data indicate that immunocompetent adult horses develop R. equi-specific CD8+ CTL, which may play a role in immunity to R. equi. The apparent lack of restriction via classical MHC class I molecules suggests a novel or nonclassical method of antigen processing and presentation, such as presentation by CD1 or other nonclassical MHC molecules.
The rickettsial pathogen Anaplasma marginale assembles an actin filament bundle during intracellular infection. Unlike other bacterial pathogens that generate actin filament tails, A. marginale infects mature erythrocytes, and the F-actin appendages are assembled on the cytoplasmic surface of a vacuole containing several organisms. To identify A. marginale molecules associated with these filaments, two complementary approaches were used: matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization-time-of-flight mass spectrometry and tandem mass spectrometry of A. marginale proteins identified with an appendage-specific monoclonal antibody and expression screening of an A. marginale phage library. Amino acid and nucleotide sequences were mapped to a full-length gene in the genome of the St. Maries strain of A. marginale; the correct identification was confirmed by expression of full-length recombinant protein and its reactivity with appendage-specific antibodies. Interestingly, there is marked variation in the abilities of diverse A. marginale strains to assemble the F-actin appendages. Comparison of four strains, the Florida, Illinois, St. Maries, and Virginia strains, revealed substantial polymorphism in the gene encoding the appendage-associated protein, with amino acid sequence identity of as low as 34% among strains. However, this variation does not underlie the differences in expression, as there is no specific polymorphism associated with loss of ability to assemble actin appendages. In contrast, the ability to assemble an actin filament bundle reflected dramatic strain-specific differences in the expression level of the appendage-associated protein. Understanding how this protein influences the cycle of invasion, replication, and egress in the host cell may provide new insights into pathogen-host interactions.
Equine infectious anemia virus (EIAV) is a lentivirus that causes persistent infection in horses. The appearance of antigenically distinct viral variants during recurrent viremic episodes is thought to be due to adaptive immune selection pressure. To test this hypothesis, we evaluated envelope SU cloned sequences from five severe combined immunodeficient (SCID) foals infected with EIAV. Within the SU hypervariable V3 region, 8.5% of the clones had amino acid changes, and 6.4% had amino acid changes within the known cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) epitope Env-RW12. Of all the SU clones, only 3.1% had amino acid changes affecting potential N-linked glycosylation sites. In contrast, a much higher degree of variation was evident in SU sequences obtained from four EIAV-infected immunocompetent foals. Within V3, 68.8% of the clones contained amino acid changes, and 50% of the clones had amino acid changes within the Env-RW12 CTL epitope. Notably, 31.9% of the clones had amino acid changes affecting one or more glycosylation sites. Marked amino acid variation occurred in cloned SU sequences from an immune-reconstituted EIAV-infected SCID foal. Of these clones, 100% had amino acid changes within V3, 100% had amino acid changes within Env-RW12, and 97.5% had amino acid changes affecting glycosylation sites. Analysis of synonymous and nonsynonymous nucleotide substitutions revealed statistically significant differences between SCID and immunocompetent foals and between SCID foals and the reconstituted SCID foal. Interestingly, amino acid selection at one site occurred independently of adaptive immune status. Not only do these data indicate that adaptive immunity primarily drives the selection of EIAV SU variants, but also they demonstrate that other selective forces exist during acute infection.
Major surface protein 2 (MSP2) and MSP3 of the persistent bovine ehrlichial pathogen Anaplasma marginale are immunodominant proteins that undergo antigenic variation. The recently completed sequence of MSP3 revealed blocks of amino acids in the N and C termini that are conserved with MSP2. This study tested the hypothesis that CD4+ T cells specific for MSP2 recognize naturally processed epitopes conserved in MSP3. At least one epitope in the N terminus and two in the C terminus of MSP2 were also processed from MSP3 and presented to CD4+ T lymphocytes from MSP2-immunized cattle. This T-lymphocyte response to conserved and partially conserved epitopes may contribute to the immunodominance of MSP2 and MSP3.
A competitive-inhibition enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (cELISA) for detection of antibodies to the surface envelope (SU) of caprine arthritis-encephalitis virus (CAEV) was recently reported (L. M. Herrmann, W. P. Cheevers, T. C. McGuire, D. Scott Adams, M. M. Hutton, W. G. Gavin, and D. P. Knowles, Clin. Diagn. Lab. Immunol. 10:267-271, 2003). The cELISA utilizes CAEV-63 SU captured on microtiter plates using the monoclonal antibody (MAb) F7-299 and measures competitive displacement of binding of the anti-CAEV MAb GPB 74A by goat serum. The present study evaluated the CAEV cELISA for detection of antibodies to ovine progressive pneumonia virus (OPPV) in sheep. Three hundred thirty-two sera were randomly selected from 21,373 sheep sera collected throughout the United States to determine the sensitivity and specificity of cELISA and agar gel immunodiffusion (AGID) based on immunoprecipitation (IP) of [35S]methionine-labeled OPPV antigens as a standard of comparison. A positive cELISA test was defined as >20.9 percent inhibition (% I) of MAb 74A binding based on two standard deviations above the mean % I of 191 IP-negative sheep sera. At this cutoff, there were 2 of 141 false-negative sera (98.6% sensitivity) and 6 of 191 false-positive sera (96.9% specificity). Sensitivity and specificity values for IP-monitored AGID were comparable to those for cELISA for 314 of 332 sera with unambiguous AGID results. Concordant results by cELISA and IP resolved 16 of the 18 sera that were indeterminate by AGID. Additional studies evaluated cELISA by using 539 sera from a single OPPV-positive flock. Based on IP of 36 of these sera, there was one false-negative by cELISA among 21 IP-positive sera (95.5% sensitivity) and 0 of 15 false-positives (100% specificity). We conclude that the CAEV cELISA can be applied to detection of OPPV antibodies in sheep with high sensitivity and specificity.
Cattle infected with Neospora caninum readily experience transplacental parasite transmission, presumably after maternal parasitemia, leading to abortion or birth of congenitally infected calves. Cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL) are important mediators of protective immunity against Toxoplasma gondii, an intracellular apicomplexan protozoan closely related to N. caninum. In this study, N. caninum-specific CTL expanded from peripheral blood mononuclear cells of two major histocompatibility complex-mismatched, experimentally infected cattle were identified by using a 51Cr release cytotoxicity assay. Enrichment and blocking of CD4+- and CD8+-T-lymphocyte effector subsets indicated that CD4+ CTL killed N. caninum-infected, autologous target cells and that killing was mediated through a perforin/granzyme pathway. Detection and characterization of CTL responses to N. caninum in the natural, outbred, bovine host will facilitate identification of immunogens and design of immunization strategies to induce parasite-specific CTL against transplacental N. caninum transmission in cattle.