Host ethnicity and virus genotype shape the hepatitis B virus-specific T-cell repertoire

Anthony Oto Tan, Elisabetta Loggi, Carolina Boni, Adeline Chia, Adam J. Gehring, Seetharama S. Konduru, Vera Goh, Paola Fisicaro, Pietro Andreone, Christian Brander, Gee Lim Seng, Carlo Ferrari, Florian Bihl, Antonio Bertoletti

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75 Citations (Scopus)


Repertoire composition, quantity, and qualitative functional ability are the parameters that define virus-specific T-cell responses and are linked with their potential to control infection. We took advantage of the segregation of different hepatitis B virus (HBV) genotypes in geographically and genetically distinct host populations to directly analyze the impact that host and virus variables exert on these virus-specific T-cell parameters. T-cell responses against the entire HBV proteome were analyzed in a total of 109 HBV-infected subjects of distinct ethnicities (47 of Chinese origin and 62 of Caucasian origin). We demonstrate that HBV-specific T-cell quantity is determined by the virological and clinical profiles of the patients, which outweigh any influence of race or viral diversity. In contrast, HBV-specific T-cell repertoires are divergent in the two ethnic groups, with T-cell epitopes frequently found in Caucasian patients seldom detected in Chinese patients. In conclusion, we provide a direct biological evaluation of the impact that host and virus variables exert on virus-specific T-cell responses. The discordance between HBV-specific CD8 T-cell repertoires present in Caucasian and Chinese subjects shows the ability of HLA micropolymorphisms to diversify T-cell responses and has implications for the rational development of therapeutic and prophylactic vaccines for worldwide use.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10986-10997
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Virology
Issue number22
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2008
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Virology

Cite this

Tan, A. O., Loggi, E., Boni, C., Chia, A., Gehring, A. J., Konduru, S. S., Goh, V., Fisicaro, P., Andreone, P., Brander, C., Seng, G. L., Ferrari, C., Bihl, F., & Bertoletti, A. (2008). Host ethnicity and virus genotype shape the hepatitis B virus-specific T-cell repertoire. Journal of Virology, 82(22), 10986-10997.