Conserved and Novel Mouse CD8 T Cell Epitopes within SARS-CoV-2 Spike Receptor Binding Domain Protein Identified following Subunit Vaccination

J Immunol. 2021 Jun 1;206(11):2503-2507. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.2100195. Epub 2021 May 10.


The prior existence of human ACE2 protein-expressing mice used to study SARS-CoV and the rapid development of mouse-adapted virus strains have allowed the study of SARS-CoV-2 in mice, even as we are still learning about its natural pathology in humans. With myriad genetically altered strains on the C57BL/6 background and the abundance of immunological reagents available to interrogate its immune responses, the C57BL/6 mice may provide useful insight into the immunology of SARS-CoV-2 infection and vaccination. To conduct more detailed studies on their T cell responses to vaccines and infection, the epitopes eliciting those responses must be characterized in further detail. In this study, we mapped CD8 T cell epitopes within the receptor binding domain of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein in C57BL/6 mice. Our study identified five major CD8 T cell epitopes in immunized C57BL/6 mice, including one, VVLSFELL, presented by H-2Kb and common between SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • COVID-19 Vaccines / immunology*
  • Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte / immunology*
  • Mice
  • SARS-CoV-2 / immunology*
  • Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus / immunology*
  • Vaccination


  • COVID-19 Vaccines
  • Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte
  • Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus
  • spike protein, SARS-CoV-2