Extensive cross-reactivity of adenovirus-specific cytotoxic T cells

Hum Gene Ther. 1998 Jul 1;9(10):1419-27. doi: 10.1089/hum.1998.9.10-1419.


Although adenovirus is a major source of morbidity for immunocompromised individuals and a popular vector for gene therapy, little is known about the cellular immune responses it evokes in humans. Initial trials using adenovirus vectors have been disappointing, probably owing both to a preexisting immune response to Ad2 and Ad5, the most commonly used vector backbones, and to a response to the transgene. The former problem might be overcome by switching from the common type C adenoviruses, of which Ad2 and Ad5 are members, to other less common serotypes. Evidence for the feasibility of this approach has been provided by a rat model system. However, its success in humans depends on there being no immunological cross-reactivity between groups at the humoral or cellular level. Here, we examine the cross-reactivity of the cellular immune response to adenovirus in a human system, and find that human cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) prepared in vitro against an adenovirus from two of the six subgroups can lyse cells infected with adenoviruses from the other subgroups. Hence, the proposed use of adenovirus vectors from uncommon subgroups to evade memory immune response to subgroup C adenoviruses may not be successful. However, this same cross-reactivity indicates that adoptive transfer of CTLs generated in vitro against one adenovirus serotype may protect immunocompromised patients from infections by adenoviruses of all serotypes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adenoviridae / immunology*
  • Antibodies / immunology
  • Cross Reactions / immunology
  • Genetic Vectors / immunology
  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class I / immunology
  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class II / immunology
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Cellular
  • Immunotherapy, Adoptive
  • T-Lymphocytes, Cytotoxic / immunology*


  • Antibodies
  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class I
  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class II