A modern approach for epitope prediction: identification of foot-and-mouth disease virus peptides binding bovine leukocyte antigen (BoLA) class I molecules
Foot-and-mouth disease virus (FMDV) causes a highly contagious disease of cloven-hooved animals that carries enormous economic consequences. CD8(+) cytotoxic T lymphocytes play an important role in protection and disease outcome in viral infections but, to date, the role of the CD8(+) T-cell immune response to FMDV remains unclear. This study aimed to investigate major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I-restricted CD8(+) T-cell responses to FMDV in vaccinated and in infected cattle. An in vitro assay was used to detect antigen-specific gamma interferon release by CD8(+) T cells in FMDV-infected cattle of known MHC class I genotypes. A significant MHC class I-restricted CD8(+) T-cell response was detected to both FMDV strain O1 BFS and a recombinant fowlpox virus expressing the structural proteins of FMDV. Antigen-specific MHC class I-restricted CD8(+) T-cell responses were also detected in cattle vaccinated with inactivated FMDV. These responses were shown to be directed, at least in part, to epitopes within the structural proteins (P12A region) of the virus. By using mouse cells expressing single cattle MHC class I alleles, it was possible to identify the restriction elements in each case. Identification of these epitopes will facilitate the quantitative and qualitative analysis of FMDV-specific memory CD8(+) T cells in cattle and help to ensure that potential vaccines induce a qualitatively appropriate CD8(+) T-cell response.