A T cell epitope-based vaccine protects against chlamydial infection in HLA-DR4 transgenic mice

Weidang Li, Ashlesh K. Murthy, Gopala Krishna Lanka, Senthilnath L. Chetty, Jieh Juen Yu, James P. Chambers, Guangming Zhong, Thomas G. Forsthuber, M. Neal Guentzel, Bernard P. Arulanandam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Vaccination with recombinant chlamydial protease-like activity factor (rCPAF) has been shown to provide robust protection against genital Chlamydia infection. Adoptive transfer of IFN-γ competent CPAF-specific CD4+ T cells was sufficient to induce early sresolution of chlamydial infection and reduction of subsequent pathology in recipient IFN-γ-deficient mice indicating the importance of IFN-γ secreting CD4+ T cells in host defense against Chlamydia. In this study, we identify CD4+ T cell reactive CPAF epitopes and characterize the activation of epitope-specific CD4+ T cells following antigen immunization or Chlamydia challenge. Using the HLA-DR4 (HLA-DRB1*0401) transgenic mouse for screening overlapping peptides that induced T cell IFN-γ production, we identified at least 5 CPAF T cell epitopes presented by the HLA-DR4 complex. Immunization of HLA-DR4 transgenic mice with a rCPAFep fusion protein containing these 5 epitopes induced a robust cell-mediated immune response and significantly accelerated the resolution of genital and pulmonary Chlamydia infection. rCPAFep vaccination induced CPAF-specific CD4+ T cells in the spleen were detected using HLA-DR4/CPAF-epitope tetramers. Additionally, CPAF-specific CD4+ clones could be detected in the mouse spleen following Chlamydia muridarum and a human Chlamydia trachomatis strain challenge using these novel tetramers. These results provide the first direct evidence that a novel CPAF epitope vaccine can provide protection and that HLA-DR4/CPAF-epitope tetramers can detect CPAF epitope-specific CD4+ T cells in HLA-DR4 mice following C. muridarum or C. trachomatis infection. Such tetramers could be a useful tool for monitoring CD4+ T cells in immunity to Chlamydia infection and in developing epitope-based human vaccines using the murine model.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5722-5728
Number of pages7
Issue number48
StatePublished - Nov 19 2013


  • Chlamydia
  • Detection of antigen specific T cells
  • HLA-DR4 transgenic mice
  • T cell epitopes
  • Tetramer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • General Immunology and Microbiology
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Molecular Medicine
  • General Veterinary


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