Abacavir inhibits but does not cause self-reactivity to HLA-B*57:01-restricted EBV specific T cell receptors

Anuradha Sooda, Francois Rwandamuriye, Celestine N. Wanjalla, Lichen Jing, David M. Koelle, Bjoern Peters, Shay Leary, Abha Chopra, Michael A. Calderwood, Simon A. Mallal, Rebecca Pavlos, Mark Watson, Elizabeth J. Phillips, Alec J. Redwood

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3 Citations (Scopus)


Pre-existing pathogen-specific memory T cell responses can contribute to multiple adverse outcomes including autoimmunity and drug hypersensitivity. How the specificity of the T cell receptor (TCR) is subverted or seconded in many of these diseases remains unclear. Here, we apply abacavir hypersensitivity (AHS) as a model to address this question because the disease is linked to memory T cell responses and the HLA risk allele, HLA-B*57:01, and the initiating insult, abacavir, are known. To investigate the role of pathogen-specific TCR specificity in mediating AHS we performed a genome-wide screen for HLA-B*57:01 restricted T cell responses to Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), one of the most prevalent human pathogens. T cell epitope mapping revealed HLA-B*57:01 restricted responses to 17 EBV open reading frames and identified an epitope encoded by EBNA3C. Using these data, we cloned the dominant TCR for EBNA3C and a previously defined epitope within EBNA3B. TCR specificity to each epitope was confirmed, however, cloned TCRs did not cross-react with abacavir plus self-peptide. Nevertheless, abacavir inhibited TCR interactions with their cognate ligands, demonstrating that TCR specificity may be subverted by a drug molecule. These results provide an experimental road map for future studies addressing the heterologous immune responses of TCRs including T cell mediated adverse drug reactions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number133
JournalCommunications Biology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022


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