Yellow fever virus (YFV) is a mosquito-borne member of the genus flavivirus, including other important human-pathogenic viruses, such as dengue, Japanese encephalitis, and Zika. Herein, we report identifying 129 YFV Class II epitopes in donors vaccinated with the live attenuated YFV vaccine (YFV-17D). A total of 1156 peptides predicted to bind 17 different common HLA-DRB1 allelic variants were tested using IFN╬│ ELISPOT assays in vitro re-stimulated peripheral blood mononuclear cells from twenty-six vaccinees. Overall, we detected responses against 215 YFV epitopes. We found that the capsid and envelope proteins, as well as the non-structural (NS) proteins NS3 and NS5, were the most targeted proteins by CD4 T cells from YF-VAX vaccinated donors. In addition, we designed and validated by flow cytometry a CD4 mega pool (MP) composed of structural and non-structural epitopes in an independent cohort of vaccinated donors. Overall, this study provides a comprehensive prediction and validation of YFV epitopes in a cohort of YF-17D vaccinated individuals. With the design of a CD4 epitope MP, we further provide a useful tool to detect ex vivo responses of YFV-specific CD4 T cells in small sample volumes.

References

PubMed