T cell responses induced by attenuated flavivirus vaccination are specific and show limited cross-reactivity with other flavivirus species

Alba Grifoni, Hannah Voic, Sandeep Kumar Dhanda, Conner K. Kidd, James D. Brien, Søren Buus, Anette Stryhn, Anna P. Durbin, Stephen Whitehead, Sean A. Diehl, Aruna D. De Silva, Angel Balmaseda, Eva Harris, Daniela Weiskopf, Alessandro Sette

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


Members of the flavivirus genus share a high level of sequence similarity and often circulate in the same geographical regions. However, whether T cells induced by one viral species cross-react with other related flaviviruses has not been globally addressed. In this study, we tested pools of epitopes derived from dengue (DENV), Zika (ZIKV), Japanese encephalitis (JEV), West Nile (WNV), and yellow fever (YFV) viruses by intracellular cytokine staining (ICS) using peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) of individuals naturally exposed to DENV or immunized with DENV (TV005) or YF17D vaccine. CD8 T cell responses recognized epitopes from multiple flaviviruses; however, the magnitude of cross-reactive responses was consistently severalfold lower than those to the autologous epitope pools and was associated with lower expression of activation markers such as CD40L, CD69, and CD137. Next, we characterized the antigen sensitivity of short-Term T cell lines (TCL) representing 29 different individual epitope/donor combinations. TCL derived from DENV monovalent vaccinees induced CD8 and CD4 T cells that cross-reacted within the DENV serocomplex but were consistently associated with > 100-fold-lower antigen sensitivity for most other flaviviruses, with no cross-recognition of YFV-derived peptides. CD8 and CD4 TCL from YF17D vaccinees were associated with very limited cross-reactivity with any other flaviviruses and in five out of eight cases > 1,000-foldlower antigen sensitivity. Overall, our data suggest limited cross-reactivity for both CD4 and CD8 T cell responses between flaviviruses and have implications for understanding immunity elicited by natural infection and strategies to develop live attenuated vaccines against flaviviral species.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere00089-20
JournalJournal of Virology
Issue number10
StatePublished - May 1 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.


  • Denv
  • Flaviviruses
  • T cells
  • Vaccines
  • Yfv

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Insect Science
  • Virology


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