Phosphoantigens are mycobacterial non-peptide antigens that might enhance the immunogenicity of current subunit candidate vaccines for tuberculosis. However, their testing requires monkeys, the only animal models suitable for γδ T cell responses to mycobacteria. Thus here, the immunogenicity of 6-kDa early secretory antigenic target-mycolyl transferase complex antigen 85B (ESAT-6-Ag85B) (H-1 hybrid) fusion protein associated or not to a synthetic phosphoantigen was compared by a prime-boost regimen of two groups of eight cynomolgus. Although phosphoantigen activated immediately a strong release of systemic Th1 cytokines (IL-2, IL-6, IFN-γ, TNF-α), it further anergized blood γδ T lymphocytes selectively. By contrast, the hybrid H-1 induced only memory αβ T cell responses, regardless of phosphoantigen. These latter essentially comprised cytotoxic T lymphocytes specific for Ag85B (on average + 430 cells/million PBMC) and few IFN-γ-secreting cells (+ 40 cells/ million PBMC, equally specific for ESAT-6 and for Ag85B). Hence, in macaques, a prime-boost with the H-1/phosphoantigen subunit combination induces two waves of immune responses, successively by γδ T and αβ T lymphocyte.
- T cells
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