Zoster Vaccination Increases the Breadth of CD4+ T Cells Responsive to Varicella Zoster Virus

Kerry J Laing, Ronnie M Russell, Lichun Dong, D Scott Schmid, Michael Stern, Amalia Magaret, Jürgen G Haas, Christine Johnston, Anna Wald, David M Koelle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: The live, attenuated varicella vaccine strain (vOka) is the only licensed therapeutic vaccine. Boost of varicella zoster virus (VZV)-specific cellular immunity is a likely mechanism of action. We examined memory CD4(+) T-cell responses to each VZV protein at baseline and after zoster vaccination.

METHODS: Serial blood samples were collected from 12 subjects vaccinated with Zostavax and immunogenicity confirmed by ex vivo VZV-specific T-cell and antibody assays. CD4(+) T-cell lines enriched for VZV specificity were generated and probed for proliferative responses to every VZV protein and selected peptide sets.

RESULTS: Zoster vaccination increased the median magnitude (2.3-fold) and breadth (4.2-fold) of VZV-specific CD4(+) T cells one month post-vaccination. Both measures declined by 6 months. The most prevalent responses at baseline included VZV open reading frames (ORFs) 68, 4, 37, and 63. After vaccination, responses to ORFs 40, 67, 9, 59, 12, 62, and 18 were also prevalent. The immunogenicity of ORF9 and ORF18 were confirmed using peptides, defining a large number of discrete CD4 T-cell epitopes.

CONCLUSIONS: The breadth and magnitude of the VZV-specific CD4(+) T-cell response increase after zoster vaccination. In addition to glycoprotein E (ORF68), we identified antigenic ORFs that may be useful components of subunit vaccines.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1022-31
Number of pages10
JournalThe Journal of Infectious Diseases
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes
  • Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte
  • Herpes Zoster
  • Herpes Zoster Vaccine
  • Herpesvirus 3, Human
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Cellular
  • Middle Aged
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Vaccination
  • Vaccines, Attenuated


Dive into the research topics of 'Zoster Vaccination Increases the Breadth of CD4+ T Cells Responsive to Varicella Zoster Virus'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this