Product(s) used in this publication: PepMix™ Peptide Pools
Adenoviral infections are a major cause of morbidity and mortality after allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) in pediatric patients. Adoptive transfer of donor-derived human adenovirus (HAdV)-specific T-cells represents a promising treatment option. However, the difficulty in identifying and selecting rare HAdV-specific T-cells, and the short time span between patients at high risk for invasive infection and viremia are major limitations. We therefore developed an IL-15-driven 6 to 12 day short-term protocol for in vitro detection of HAdV-specific T cells, as revealed by known MHC class I multimers and a newly identified adenoviral CD8 T-cell epitope derived from the E1A protein for the frequent HLA-type A*02∶01 and IFN-γ. Using this novel and improved diagnostic approach we observed a correlation between adenoviral load and reconstitution of CD8(+) and CD4(+) HAdV-specific T-cells including central memory cells in HSCT-patients. Adaption of the 12-day protocol to good manufacturing practice conditions resulted in a 2.6-log (mean) expansion of HAdV-specific T-cells displaying high cytolytic activity (4-fold) compared to controls and low or absent alloreactivity. Similar protocols successfully identified and rapidly expanded CMV-, EBV-, and BKV-specific T-cells. Our approach provides a powerful clinical-grade convertible tool for rapid and cost-effective detection and enrichment of multiple virus-specific T-cells that may facilitate broad clinical application.