Single-cycle influenza virus vaccine generates lung CD8+ Trm that cross-react against viral variants and subvert virus escape mutants.
Zheng MZM., Tan TK., Villalon-Letelier F., Lau H., Deng Y-M., Fritzlar S., Valkenburg SA., Gu H., Poon LLM., Reading PC., Townsend AR., Wakim LM.
Influenza virus-specific tissue-resident memory (Trm) CD8+ T cells located along the respiratory tract provide cross-strain protection against a breadth of influenza viruses. We show that immunization with a single-cycle influenza virus vaccine candidate (S-FLU) results in the deposition of influenza virus nucleoprotein (NP)-specific CD8+ Trm along the respiratory tract that were more cross-reactive against viral variants and less likely to drive the development of cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) escape mutants, as compared to the lung memory NP-specific CD8+ T cell pool established following influenza infection. This immune profile was linked to the limited inflammatory response evoked by S-FLU vaccination, which increased TCR repertoire diversity within the memory CD8+ T cell compartment. Cumulatively, this work shows that S-FLU vaccination evokes a clonally diverse, cross-reactive memory CD8+ T cell pool, which protects against severe disease without driving the virus to rapidly evolve and escape, and thus represents an attractive vaccine for use against rapidly mutating influenza viruses.