Novel mumps virus epitopes reveal robust cytotoxic T cell responses after natural infection but not after vaccination

Sci Rep. 2021 Jul 1;11(1):13664. doi: 10.1038/s41598-021-92926-1.


Mumps is nowadays re-emerging despite vaccination. The contribution of T cell immunity to protection against mumps has not been clearly defined. Previously, we described a set of 41 peptides that were eluted from human leukocyte antigen (HLA) class I molecules of mumps virus (MuV)-infected cells. Here, we confirmed immunogenicity of five novel HLA-B*07:02- and HLA-A*01:01-restricted MuV T cell epitopes from this set of peptides. High frequencies of T cells against these five MuV epitopes could be detected ex vivo in all tested mumps patients. Moreover, these epitope-specific T cells derived from mumps patients displayed strong cytotoxic activity. In contrast, only marginal T cell responses against these novel MuV epitopes could be detected in recently vaccinated persons, corroborating earlier findings. Identifying which MuV epitopes are dominantly targeted in the mumps-specific CD8+ T- response is an important step towards better understanding in the discrepancies between natural infection or vaccination-induced cell-mediated immune protection.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte / immunology*
  • HLA-A Antigens / immunology
  • HLA-B Antigens / immunology
  • Humans
  • Mumps / immunology*
  • Mumps / prevention & control
  • Mumps virus / immunology*
  • T-Lymphocytes, Cytotoxic / immunology*
  • Vaccination
  • Young Adult


  • Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte
  • HLA-A Antigens
  • HLA-B Antigens