An unbiased genome-wide Mycobacterium tuberculosis gene expression approach to discover antigens targeted by human T cells expressed during pulmonary infection

Susanna Commandeur, Krista E. Van Meijgaarden, Corine Prins, Alexander V. Pichugin, Karin Dijkman, Susan J.F. Van Den Eeden, Annemieke H. Friggen, Kees L.M.C. Franken, Gregory Dolganov, Igor Kramnik, Gary K. Schoolnik, Fredrik Oftung, Gro Ellen Korsvold, Annemieke Geluk, Tom H.M. Ottenhoff*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


    Mycobacterium tuberculosis is responsible for almost 2 million deaths annually. Mycobacterium bovis bacillus Calmette-Guérin, the only vaccine available against tuberculosis (TB), induces highly variable protection against TB, and better TB vaccines are urgently needed. A prerequisite for candidate vaccine Ags is that they are immunogenic and expressed by M. tuberculosis during infection of the primary target organ, that is, the lungs of susceptible individuals. In search of new TB vaccine candidate Ags, we have used a genome-wide, unbiased Ag discovery approach to investigate the in vivo expression of 2170 M. tuberculosis genes during M. tuberculosis infection in the lungs of mice. Four genetically related but distinct mouse strains were studied, representing a spectrum of TB susceptibility controlled by the supersusceptibility to TB 1 locus. We used stringent selection approaches to select in vivo-expressed M. tuberculosis (IVE-TB) genes and analyzed their expression patterns in distinct disease phenotypes such as necrosis and granuloma formation. To study the vaccine potential of these proteins, we analyzed their immunogenicity. Several M. tuberculosis proteins were recognized by immune cells from tuberculin skin test-positive, ESAT6/CFP10-responsive individuals, indicating that these Ags are presented during natural M. tuberculosis infection. Furthermore, TB patients also showed responses toward IVE-TB Ags, albeit lower than tuberculin skin test-positive, ESAT6/CFP10-responsive individuals. Finally, IVETB Ags induced strong IFN-γ+/TNF-α+ CD8+ and TNF-α+/IL-2+ CD154+/CD4+ T cell responses in PBMC from long-term latently M. tuberculosis-infected individuals. In conclusion, these IVE-TB Ags are expressed during pulmonary infection in vivo, are immunogenic, induce strong T cell responses in long-term latently M. tuberculosis-infected individuals, and may therefore represent attractive Ags for new TB vaccines.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1659-1671
    Number of pages13
    JournalJournal of Immunology
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 15 Feb 2013

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