Detection of interferon gamma-secreting CD8+ T lymphocytes in humans specific for three PE/PPE proteins of Mycobacterium tuberculosis

Microbes Infect. 2008 Jul;10(8):858-67. doi: 10.1016/j.micinf.2008.04.017. Epub 2008 May 2.


The PE and PPE family of proteins of Mycobacterium tuberculosis have been hypothesized to play important roles in the biology of the organism and some proteins have been shown to be involved in eliciting T-cell responses. Earlier, we had identified putative HLA class I binding epitopes of the PE and PPE proteins of Mycobacterium tuberculosis employing computational and molecular modeling approaches. In the present work, three of the PE/PPE family proteins, coded by Rv1818c, Rv3812 and Rv3018c genes, were selected based on the computational analysis for testing human immune responses. PBMCs from patients with active tuberculosis and healthy, BCG vaccinated, PPD-positive individuals were tested for in vitro proliferative response and gamma-interferon production using synthetic peptides derived from the chosen proteins. Significant differences were seen in the responsiveness between healthy controls and patients. Antigen-specific T-cell lines were established from the PBMCs of healthy controls and their responses to peptide-specific CD8+ T-cell effectors were shown to be present at high frequency in the PBMCs of PPD+ controls. The T-cell lines also showed cytotoxic activity against the peptide pulsed monocytes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Bacterial Proteins / immunology*
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cytotoxicity Tests, Immunologic
  • Cytotoxicity, Immunologic
  • Humans
  • Interferon-gamma / metabolism*
  • Leukocytes, Mononuclear / immunology
  • Mycobacterium bovis / immunology
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis / immunology*


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Interferon-gamma