Janine Kemming – Klaus Goerttler Awardee
Thursday, September, 30th, 2021: 09:30am – 10:00am
Characterization of pre-existing and (vaccine-) induced SARS-CoV-2-specific CD8+ T cells
1. Department of Medicine II, Freiburg University Medical Center, Faculty of Medicine, University of Freiburg, Freiburg, Germany
2. Faculty of Biology, University of Freiburg, Freiburg, Germany
In the race to understand SARS-CoV-2 immunobiology in order to fight the current pandemic, data on immune correlates of protection upon natural infection as well as vaccination is urgently needed.
From other viral infections, we know that CD8+ T cells are potent anti-viral effector cells and can critically influence the outcome of an infection. For SARS-CoV-2, however, little is known about the abundance, phenotype, functional capacity and fate of pre-existing and (vaccine-) induced SARS-CoV-2-specific CD8+ T-cell responses.
We therefore set out to perform high-resolution analyses of SARS-CoV-2-specific CD8+ T-cell responses by defining a set of novel optimal and dominant SARS-CoV-2-specific CD8+ T-cell epitopes enabling ex vivo comparison of pre-existing and (vaccine-) induced SARS-CoV-2-specific CD8+ T cells applying peptide-loaded MHCI-tetramer technology and multidimensional cytometry.
We found that a functional effector SARS-CoV-2-specific CD8+ T cell response is rapidly mobilized upon infection as well as Comirnaty vaccination together with the induction of a precursor memory pool, expressing characteristics important for long-lasting protective immunity.
Janine Kemming is a doctoral researcher at the University Hospital Freiburg in the working group of Prof. Dr. C. Neumann-Haefelin. She studied biology at the Albert-Ludwigs-University in Freiburg with a strong focus on immunology. Since starting the work on her PhD thesis in 2016 her research focuses on the mechanisms of CD8+ T cell (dys-) function in hepatitis C, hepatitis E and SARS-CoV-2 infections.