Singh, Shailbala (2009-12). First Characterization of Avian Memory T Lymphocyte Responses to Avian Influenza Virus Proteins. Doctoral Dissertation. Thesis uri icon


  • Although wild birds are natural hosts of avian influenza viruses (AIVs), these viruses can be highly contagious to poultry and a zoonotic threat to humans. The propensity of AIV for genetic variation through genetic shift and drift allows virus to evade vaccine mediated humoral immunity. An alternative approach to current vaccine development is induction of CD8+ T cells which responds to more conserved epitopes than humoral immunity and targets a broader spectrum of viruses. Since the memory CD8+ T lymphocyte responses in chickens to individual AIV proteins have not been defined, the modulation of responses of the memory CD8+ T lymphocytes to H5N9 AIV hemagglutinin (HA) and nucleocapsid (NP) proteins over a time course were evaluated. CD8+ T lymphocyte responses induced by intramuscular inoculation of chickens with AIV HA and NP expressing cDNA plasmids or a non-replicating human adenovirus vector were identified through ex vivo stimulation with virus infected, major histocompatibility complex (MHC) matched antigen presenting cells (APCs). The IFN? production by activated lymphocytes was evaluated by macrophage production of nitric oxide and ELISA. MHC-I restricted memory T lymphocyte responses were determined at 10 days and 3, 5, 7 and 9 weeks post-inoculation (p.i). The use of non-professional APCs and APC driven proliferation of cells with CD8+ phenotype correlated with the activation of CD8+ T lymphocytes. The responses specific to nucleocapsid protein (NP) were consistently greater than those to the hemagglutinin (HA) at 5 weeks when the CD8+ T cell responses were maximum. By 8 to 9 weeks p.i., responses to either protein were undetectable. The T lymphocytes also responded to stimulation with a heterologous H7N2 AIV infected APCs. Administration of booster dose induced secondary effector cell mediated immune responses which had greater magnitudes than primary effector responses at 10 days p.i. Flow cytometric analysis (FACS) of the T lymphocytes demonstrated that memory CD8+ T lymphocytes of chickens can be distinguished from naive lymphocytes by their higher expression of CD44 and CD45 surface antigens. CD45 expression of memory lymphocytes further increases upon ex vivo stimulation with APCs expressing AIV. This is the first characterization of avian memory responses following both primary and secondary expression of any individual viral protein.

publication date

  • December 2009