Product(s) used in this publication: Specialty Peptides
High-tuberculosis (TB)-burden countries are located in sub-Saharan Africa. We examined the frequency of human leukocyte antigen (HLA) alleles, followed by recombinant expression of the most frequent HLA-A alleles, i.e., HLA-A*3001 and HLA-A*3002, to study differences in mycobacterial peptide presentation and CD8(+) T-cell recognition. We screened a peptide library (9-mer peptides with an 8-amino-acid overlap) for binding, affinity, and off-rate of the Mycobacterium tuberculosis-associated antigen TB10.4 and identified only three TB10.4 peptides with considerable binding to HLA-A*3001. In contrast, 22 peptides bound to HLA-A*3002. This reflects a marked difference in the binding preference between the two alleles, with A*3002 tolerating a more promiscuous peptide-binding pattern and A*3001 accommodating only a very selective peptide repertoire. Subsequent analysis of the affinity and off-rate of the binding peptides revealed a strong affinity (8 nM to 7 μM) and moderate off-rate (20 min to 3 h) for both alleles. Construction of HLA-A*3001 and HLA-A*3002 tetramers containing selected binding peptides from TB10.4, including a peptide which was shared among both alleles, QIMYNYPAM (TB10.4(3-11)), allowed us to enumerate epitope-specific T cells in HLA-A*3001- and HLA-A*3002-typed patients with active TB. HLA-A*3001 and HLA-A*3002 major histocompatibility complex-peptide complexes were recognized in individuals with active TB, irrespective of their homozygous HLA-A*3001 or HLA-A*3002 genetic background. The antigen-specific T cells exhibited the CD45RA(+) CCR7(+) precursor phenotype and the interleukin-7 receptor (CD127), which were different from the phenotype and receptor exhibited by the parental CD8(+) T-cell population.