Peptide-major histocompatibility complex (p-MHC) class I tetramer complexes have facilitated the early detection and functional characterisation of epitope specific CD8(+) cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL). Here, we report on the generation of seven recombinant bovine leukocyte antigens (BoLA) and recombinant bovine beta 2-microglobulin from which p-MHC class I tetramers can be derived in similar to 48 h. We validated a set of p-MHC class I tetramers against a panel of CTL lines specific to seven epitopes on five different antigens of Theileria parva, a protozoan pathogen causing the lethal bovine disease East Coast fever. One of the p-MHC class I tetramers was tested in ex vivo assays and we detected T. parva specific CTL in peripheral blood of cattle at day 15-17 post-immunization with a live parasite vaccine. The algorithm NetMHCpan predicted alternative epitope sequences for some of the T. parva CTL epitopes. Using an ELISA assay to measure peptide-BoLA monomer formation and p-MHC class I tetramers of new specificity, we demonstrate that a predicted alternative epitope Tp2(29-37) rather than the previously reported Tp2(27-37) epitope is the correct Tp2 epitope presented by BoLA-6*04101. We also verified the prediction by NetMHCpan that the Tp5(87-95) epitope reported as BoLA-T5 restricted can also be presented by BoLA-1*02301, a molecule similar in sequence to BoLA-T5. In addition, Tp5(87-95) specific bovine CTL were simultaneously stained by Tp5-BoLA-1*02301 and Tp5-BoLA-T5 tetramers suggesting that one T cell receptor can bind to two different BoLA MHC class I molecules presenting the Tp5(87-95) epitope and that these BoLA molecules fall into a single functional supertype.
Veterinary Research, 2014, Vol 45, Issue 1, p. 1-16