CD4+ Th immunogenicity of the Ascaris spp. secreted products
Ebner, Friederike and Morrison, Eliot and Bertazzon, Miriam and Midha, Ankur and Hartmann, Susanne and Freund, Christian and Álvaro-Benito, Miguel – 2020
Ascaris spp. is a major health problem of humans and animals alike, and understanding the immunogenicity of its antigens is required for developing urgently needed vaccines. The parasite-secreted products represent the most relevant, yet complex (>250 proteins) antigens of Ascaris spp. as defining the pathogen-host interplay. We applied an in vitro antigen processing system coupled to quantitative proteomics to identify potential CD4+ Th cell epitopes in Ascaris-secreted products. This approach considerably restricts the theoretical list of epitopes using conventional CD4+ Th cell epitope prediction tools. We demonstrate the specificity and utility of our approach on two sets of candidate lists, allowing us identifying hits excluded by either one or both computational methods. More importantly, one of the candidates identified experimentally, clearly demonstrates the presence of pathogen-reactive T cells in healthy human individuals against these antigens. Thus, our work pipeline identifies the first human T cell epitope against Ascaris spp. and represents an easily adaptable platform for characterization of complex antigens, in particular for those pathogens that are not easily amenable for in vivo experimental validation.