Hsp70 enhances presentation of FMDV antigen to bovine CD4(+) T cells in vitro

Foot-and-mouth disease virus (FMDV) is the causative agent of a highly contagious acute vesicular disease affecting cloven-hoofed animals, including cattle, sheep and pigs. The current vaccine induces a rapid humoral response, but the duration of the protective antibody response is variable, possibly associated with a variable specific CD4+ T cell response. We investigated the use of heat shock protein 70 (Hsp70) as a molecular chaperone to target viral antigen to the Major Histocompatibility Complex (MHC) class II pathway of antigen presenting cells and generate enhanced MHC II-restricted CD4+ T cell responses in cattle. Monocytes and CD4+ T cells from FMDV vaccinated cattle were stimulated in vitro with complexes of Hsp70 and FMDV peptide, or peptide alone. Hsp70 was found to consistently improve the presentation of a 25-mer FMDV peptide to CD4+ T cells, as measured by T cell proliferation. Complex formation was required for the enhanced effects and Hsp70 alone did not stimulate proliferation. This study provides further evidence that Hsp70:peptide complexes can enhance antigen-specific CD4+ T cell responses in vitro for an important pathogen of livestock.

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