Conserved T cell receptor usage in primary and recall responses to an immunodominant influenza virus nucleoprotein epitope

Katherine Kedzierska, Stephen J. Turner, Peter C. Doherty

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

124 Citations (Scopus)


The CD8 + T cell response to the immunodominant D b NP 366 epitope has been analyzed sequentially to determine the prevalence and persistence of different T cell antigen receptor (TCR)Vβ8.3 clonotypes after primary and secondary influenza virus challenge. Based on the length and amino acid sequences of the complementarity-determining region 3 of TCRβ (CDR3β) loop and associated Jβ usage, the same dominant TCRβ signatures were found in the blood, the spleen, and the site of virus-induced pathology in the infected respiratory tract. Longitudinal analysis demonstrated that TCRβ prominent in the antigen-driven phase of response persisted into memory and were again expanded after secondary challenge. A proportion of these high-frequency TCRβ expressed "public" CDR3β sequences that were detected in every mouse sampled, whereas others were found more than once but were not invariably present. Analysis of N-region nucleotide diversity established that as many as 10 different nucleic acid sequences (maximum of four "nucleotypes" in any one mouse) could encode a single public TCRβ amino acid sequence. Conversely, whereas some of the unique, "private" TCRβ achieved a substantial clone size, they were always specified by a single nucleotype. Although there is a strong stochastic element in this response, the public TCRβ seem to represent a "best fit" for this immunodominant epitope, are selected preferentially from the naive TCR repertoire, and assume even greater prominence after secondary challenge.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4942-4947
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number14
Publication statusPublished - 6 Apr 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • CD8 T cells
  • Influenza A virus
  • T cell receptor repertoire

Cite this