Varicella-zoster virus (VZV) causes varicella, establishes neuronal latency, and can reactivate, resulting in herpes zoster. VZV-specific T cells are important for controlling infection. VZV immediate early protein 62 (IE62) is recognized by cytotoxic T cells from immune individuals, but no CD8(+) T cell epitopes have been defined for any VZV protein. CD8(+) T cell frequencies were assessed by cytokine flow cytometry (CFC), by use of synthetic-peptide pools corresponding to the IE62 sequence. IE62 peptide-specific CD8(+) T cells were below the threshold of detection, by direct CFC of either whole blood or peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs). Activated CD8(+)CD69(+) T cells that produced interferon-gamma were detectable after in vitro restimulation of PBMCs, and restricted epitopes were identified for HLA-A*0201-positive subjects. Varicella vaccination of 3 VZV-immune subjects was associated with increases in IE62 peptide-specific CD8(+) T cells, a finding indicating that in vivo re-exposure boosts memory immunity to this important viral protein.
View details for Web of Science ID 000183905800006
View details for PubMedID 12825169