MHC-E-Restricted CD8+ T cells target Hepatitis B virus-infected human hepatocytes

Benjamin J. Burwitz, Patrick K. Hashiguchi, Mandana Mansouri, Christine Meyer, Roxanne M. Gilbride, Sreya Biswas, Jennie L. Womack, Jason S. Reed, Helen L. Wu, Michael K. Axthelm, Scott G. Hansen, Louis J. Picker, Klaus Fruh, Jonah B. Sacha

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Currently 247 million people are living with chronic hepatitis B virus infection (CHB), and the development of novel curative treatments is urgently needed. Immunotherapy is an attractive approach to treat CHB, yet therapeutic approaches to augment the endogenous hepatitis B virus (HBV)-specific T cell response in CHB patients have demonstrated little success. In this study, we show that strain 68-1 rhesus macaque (RM) CMV vaccine vectors expressing HBV Ags engender HBV-specific CD8+ T cells unconventionally restricted by MHC class II and the nonclassical MHC-E molecule in RM. Surface staining of human donor and RM primary hepatocytes (PH) ex vivo revealed the majority of PH expressed MHC-E but not MHC class II. HBV-specific, MHCE- restricted CD8+ T cells from RM vaccinated with RM CMV vaccine vectors expressing HBVAgs recognized HBV-infected PH from both human donor and RM. These results provide proof-of-concept that MHC-E-restricted CD8+ T cells could be harnessed for the treatment of CHB, either through therapeutic vaccination or adoptive immunotherapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2169-2176
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Apr 15 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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