Cutting Edge: Transcriptional Profiling Reveals Multifunctional and Cytotoxic Antiviral Responses of Zika Virus-Specific CD8+ T Cells

Related People: Anna P. Durbin, MD
Related Research: Zika Virus
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Zika virus (ZIKV) constitutes an increasing public health
problem. Previous studies have shown that CD8+ T cells
play an important role in ZIKV-specific protective immunity.
We have previously defined antigenic targets of
the ZIKV-specific CD8+ T cell response in humans. In
this study, we characterized the quality and phenotypes of
these responses by a combined use of flow cytometry and
transcriptomic methods, using PBMCs from donors deriving
from different geographical locations collected in
the convalescent phase of infection. We show that ZIKVspecific
CD8+ T cells are characterized by a polyfunctional
IFN-g signature with upregulation of TNF-a,
TNF receptors, and related activation markers, such as
CD69, as well as a cytotoxic signature characterized by
strong upregulation of GZMB and CRTAM. The signature
is stable and not influenced by previous dengue virus
exposure, geographical location, or time of sample collection
postinfection. To our knowledge, this work elucidates
the first in-depth characterization of human CD8+
T cells responding to ZIKV infection.

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