A Murine CD8+ T Cell Epitope Identified in the Receptor-Binding Domain of the SARS-CoV-2 Spike Protein.

Vaccines
Jihyun YangHaryoung Poo

Abstract

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic caused by SARS-CoV-2 has posed a devastating threat worldwide. The receptor-binding domain (RBD) of the spike protein is one of the most important antigens for SARS-CoV-2 vaccines, while the analysis of CD8 cytotoxic T lymphocyte activity in preclinical studies using mouse models is critical for evaluating vaccine efficacy. Here, we immunized C57BL/6 wild-type mice and transgenic mice expressing human angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) with the SARS-CoV-2 RBD protein to evaluate the IFN-γ-producing T cells in the splenocytes of the immunized mice using an overlapping peptide pool by an enzyme-linked immunospot assay and flow cytometry. We identified SARS-CoV-2 S395-404 as a major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I-restricted epitope for the RBD-specific CD8 T cell responses in C57BL/6 mice.

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