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Cancer research  2009;69(16):6607-6614.
Interferon-producing killer dendritic cells (IKDC) represent a recently discovered cell type in the immune system that possesses a number of functions contributing to innate and adaptive immunity, including production of type 1 and 2 IFNs, IL-12, natural killing, and ultimately antigen presentation to naïve T-cells. Here, we compared in vitro and in vivo responses of mouse IKDC, conventional dendritic cells and natural killer cells to murine cytomegalovirus infection and found distinct functions among these cell subsets. Upon recognition of infected fibroblasts, IKDC, as well as NK, produced high level of IFN-γ, but unlike NK, IKDC simultaneously produced IL-12p40 and upregulated MHC class II and costimulatory molecules. Using MHC-II molecule expression as a phenotypic marker to distinguish activated IKDC from activated NK, we further demonstrated that highly purified MHC-II+ IKDC but not NK, cross-present MHC class I-restricted antigens derived from MCMV-infected targets to CD8+ T-cells in vitro and in vivo. Our findings emphasize the unique nature of IKDC as a killer antigen presenting cell directly linking innate and adaptive immunity.
PMCID: PMC2761009  PMID: 19679552
IKDC and cross-presentation; Dendritic cell; Antigen presentation; Natural killer
2.  Putative IKDCs are functionally and developmentally similar to natural killer cells, but not to dendritic cells 
The Journal of Experimental Medicine  2007;204(11):2579-2590.
Interferon-producing killer dendritic cells (IKDCs) have been described as possessing the lytic potential of NK cells and the antigen-presenting capacity of dendritic cells (DCs). In this study, we examine the lytic function and antigen-presenting capacity of mouse spleen IKDCs, including those found in DC preparations. IKDCs efficiently killed NK cell targets, without requiring additional activation stimuli. However, in our hands, when exposed to protein antigen or to MHC class II peptide, IKDCs induced little or no T cell proliferation relative to conventional DCs or plasmacytoid DCs, either before or after activation with CpG, or in several disease models. Certain developmental features indicated that IKDCs resembled NK cells more than DCs. IKDCs, like NK cells, did not express the transcription factor PU.1 and were absent from recombinase activating gene-2–null, common γ-chain–null (Rag2−/−Il2rg−/−) mice. When cultured with IL-15 and -18, IKDCs proliferated extensively, like NK cells. Under these conditions, a proportion of expanded IKDCs and NK cells expressed high levels of surface MHC class II. However, even such MHC class II+ IKDCs and NK cells induced poor T cell proliferative responses compared with DCs. Thus, IKDCs resemble NK cells functionally, and neither cell type could be induced to be effective antigen-presenting cells.
PMCID: PMC2118479  PMID: 17923506
Lower respiratory tract infections caused by the paramyxoviruses human metapneumovirus (hMPV) and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) are characterized by short-lasting virus-specific immunity and often long term airway morbidity, both of which may be the result of alterations in the antigen presenting function of the lung which follow these infections. In this study, we investigated whether hMPV and RSV experimental infections alter the phenotype and function of dendritic cells (DC) subsets which are recruited to the lung. Characterization of lung DC trafficking demonstrated a differential recruitment of plasmacytoid DC (pDC), conventional DC (cDC) and interferon-producing killer DC (IKDC) to the lung and draining lymph nodes after hMPV and RSV infection. In vitro infection of lung DC indicated that in pDC, production of IFN-α, TNF-α, and CCL5 was induced only by hMPV while CCL3 and CCL4 were induced by both viruses. In cDC, a similar repertoire of cytokines was induced by hMPV and RSV, except for IFN-β, which was not induced by RSV. The function of lung pDC was altered following hMPV or RSV infection in vivo, as we demonstrated a reduced capacity of lung pDC to produce IFN-α as well as other cytokines including IL-6, TNF-α, CCL2, CCL3 and CCL4 in response to TLR9 agonist. Moreover, we observed an impaired capacity of cDC from infected mice to present Ag to CD4+ T cells, an effect that lasted beyond the acute phase of infection. Our findings suggest that acute paramyxovirus infections can alter the long term immune function of pulmonary DC.
PMCID: PMC2865244  PMID: 19234204
Dendritic cells; Lung; Viral; Cytokines; Cell trafficking
4.  CD11cloB220+ interferon-producing killer dendritic cells are activated natural killer cells 
The Journal of Experimental Medicine  2007;204(11):2569-2578.
Interferon-producing killer dendritic cells (IKDCs) are a recently described subset of CD11cloB220+ cells that share phenotypic and functional properties of DCs and natural killer (NK) cells (Chan, C.W., E. Crafton, H.N. Fan, J. Flook, K. Yoshimura, M. Skarica, D. Brockstedt, T.W. Dubensky, M.F. Stins, L.L. Lanier, et al. 2006. Nat. Med. 12:207–213; Taieb, J., N. Chaput, C. Menard, L. Apetoh, E. Ullrich, M. Bonmort, M. Pequignot, N. Casares, M. Terme, C. Flament, et al. 2006. Nat. Med. 12:214–219). IKDC development appears unusual in that cytokines using the interleukin (IL)-2 receptor β (IL-2Rβ) chain but not those using the common γ chain (γc) are necessary for their generation. By directly comparing Rag2−/−γc−/y, Rag2−/−IL-2Rβ−/−, Rag2−/−IL-15−/−, and Rag2−/−IL-2−/− mice, we demonstrate that IKDC development parallels NK cell development in its strict IL-15 dependence. Moreover, IKDCs uniformly express NK-specific Ncr-1 transcripts (encoding NKp46), whereas NKp46+ cells are absent in Ncr1gfp/+γc−/y mice. Distinguishing features of IKDCs (CD11cloB220+MHC-II+) were carefully examined on developing NK cells in the bone marrow and on peripheral NK cells. As B220 expression was heterogeneous, defining B220lo versus B220hi NK1.1+ NK cells could be considered as arbitrary, and few phenotypic differences were noted between NK1.1+ NK cells bearing different levels of B220. CD11c expression did not correlate with B220 or major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class II (MHC-II) expression, and most MHC-II+ NK1.1+ cells did not express B220 and were thus not IKDCs. Finally, CD11c, MHC-II, and B220 levels were up-regulated on NK1.1+ cells upon activation in vitro or in vivo in a proliferation-dependent fashion. Our data suggest that the majority of CD11cloB220+ “IKDC-like” cells represent activated NK cells.
PMCID: PMC2118499  PMID: 17923507
5.  Tolerogen-induced interferon-producing killer dendritic cells (IKDCs) protect against EAE 
Journal of autoimmunity  2011;37(4):328-341.
Natural killer (NK) cells and dendritic cells (DCs) have been shown to link the innate and adaptive immune systems. Likewise, a new innate cell subset, interferon-producing killer DCs (IKDCs), shares phenotypic and functional characteristics with both DCs and NK cells. Here, we show IKDCs play an essential role in the resolution of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) upon treatment with the tolerizing agent, myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein (MOG), genetically fused to reovirus protein σ1 (termed MOG-pσ1). Activated IKDCs were recruited subsequent MOG-pσ1 treatment of EAE, and disease resolution was abated upon NK1.1 cell depletion. These IKDCs were able to kill activated CD4+ T cells and mature dendritic DCs, thus, contributing to EAE remission. In addition, IKDCs were responsible for MOG-pσ1-mediated MOG-specific regulatory T cell recruitment to the CNS. The IKDCs induced by MOG-pσ1 expressed elevated levels of HVEM for interactions with cognate ligand-positive cells: LIGHT+ NK and Teff cells and BTLA+ B cells. Further characterization revealed these activated IKDCs being MHC class IIhigh, and upon their adoptive transfer (CD11c+NK1.1+MHC class IIhigh), IKDCs, but not CD11c+NK1.1+MHC class IIintermediate/low (unactivated) cells, conferred protection against EAE. These activated IKDCs showed enhanced CD107a, PD-L1, and granzyme B expression and could present OVA, unlike unactivated IKDCs. Thus, these results demonstrate the interventional potency induced HVEM+ IKDCs to resolve autoimmune disease.
PMCID: PMC3237120  PMID: 22018711
EAE; tolerance; Treg cells; IKDC; HVEM
6.  Genetic characterization of interferon-producing killer dendritic cells 
The combined phenotypic expression of CD11clow B220+ CD122+ DX5+ has been used to define a novel cell type, termed interferon-producing killer dendritic cells (IKDC). IKDC readily produce IFN-γ and demonstrate spontaneous cytotoxic activity towards tumors, suggesting that a modulation of IKDC number may be beneficial in cancer treatment. We examined various mouse strains and found that IKDC number was highly variable between the different strains. A linkage analysis associated the distal arm of chromosome 7 with variations in IKDC number. The genetic contribution of chromosome 7 to the regulation of IKDC number was confirmed through the use of congenic mice. We further demonstrate that IKDC proportion is regulated by intrinsic hematopoietic factors. We discuss the role of various candidate genes in the regulation of this newly described cell type and its implication in therapy.
PMCID: PMC2697453  PMID: 19380763
Dendritic Cells; Natural Killer Cells; Tumor Immunity
7.  Unique Type I Interferon Responses Determine the Functional Fate of Migratory Lung Dendritic Cells during Influenza Virus Infection 
PLoS Pathogens  2011;7(11):e1002345.
Migratory lung dendritic cells (DCs) transport viral antigen from the lungs to the draining mediastinal lymph nodes (MLNs) during influenza virus infection to initiate the adaptive immune response. Two major migratory DC subsets, CD103+ DCs and CD11bhigh DCs participate in this function and it is not clear if these antigen presenting cell (APC) populations become directly infected and if so whether their activity is influenced by the infection. In these experiments we show that both subpopulations can become infected and migrate to the draining MLN but a difference in their response to type I interferon (I-IFN) signaling dictates the capacity of the virus to replicate. CD103+ DCs allow the virus to replicate to significantly higher levels than do the CD11bhigh DCs, and they release infectious virus in the MLNs and when cultured ex-vivo. Virus replication in CD11bhigh DCs is inhibited by I-IFNs, since ablation of the I-IFN receptor (IFNAR) signaling permits virus to replicate vigorously and productively in this subset. Interestingly, CD103+ DCs are less sensitive to I-IFNs upregulating interferon-induced genes to a lesser extent than CD11bhigh DCs. The attenuated IFNAR signaling by CD103+ DCs correlates with their described superior antigen presentation capacity for naïve CD8+ T cells when compared to CD11bhigh DCs. Indeed ablation of IFNAR signaling equalizes the competency of the antigen presenting function for the two subpopulations. Thus, antigen presentation by lung DCs is proportional to virus replication and this is tightly constrained by I-IFN. The “interferon-resistant” CD103+ DCs may have evolved to ensure the presentation of viral antigens to T cells in I-IFN rich environments. Conversely, this trait may be exploitable by viral pathogens as a mechanism for systemic dissemination.
Author Summary
Migratory lung dendritic cells (DCs) control the initiation of the adaptive immune responses to influenza virus by expanding virus-specific T cells in draining lymph nodes (MLNs) that will subsequently clear the pathogen from the respiratory tract. Here we demonstrate that both subsets of lung DCs, CD103+ DCs and CD11bhigh DCs become infected by influenza virus in vivo and migrate to the MLNs, but only CD103+ DCs support productive virus replication. Enhanced virus replication in CD103+ DCs compared to CD11bhigh DCs was responsible for their superior antigen presentation efficacy for naïve CD8+ T cells and originated from a difference in sensitivity of the two DC populations to type I interferon (I-IFN). These data show that in contrast to most other immune cell types, DCs can become productively infected with influenza virus and I-IFN operates as a master regulator controlling which DC subset will present antigen during a viral infection. A deeper understanding of basic innate and adaptive immune response mechanisms regulated by I-FN may lead to the development of cutting edge therapies and improve vaccine efficacy against influenza and other viruses.
PMCID: PMC3207893  PMID: 22072965
8.  Interferon-β Pretreatment of Conventional and Plasmacytoid Human Dendritic Cells Enhances Their Activation by Influenza Virus 
PLoS Pathogens  2008;4(10):e1000193.
Influenza virus produces a protein, NS1, that inhibits infected cells from releasing type I interferon (IFN) and blocks maturation of conventional dendritic cells (DCs). As a result, influenza virus is a poor activator of both mouse and human DCs in vitro. However, in vivo a strong immune response to virus infection is generated in both species, suggesting that other factors may contribute to the maturation of DCs in vivo. It is likely that the environment in which a DC encounters a virus would contain multiple pro-inflammatory molecules, including type I IFN. Type I IFN is a critical component of the viral immune response that initiates an antiviral state in cells, primarily by triggering a broad transcriptional program that interferes with the ability of virus to establish infection in the cell. In this study, we have examined the activation profiles of both conventional and plasmacytoid dendritic cells (cDCs and pDCs) in response to an influenza virus infection in the context of a type I IFN-containing environment. We found that both cDCs and pDCs demonstrate a greater activation response to influenza virus when pre-exposed to IFN-β (IFN priming); although, the priming kinetics are different in these two cell types. This strongly suggests that type I IFN functions not only to reduce viral replication in these immune cells, but also to promote greater DC activation during influenza virus infections.
Author Summary
Influenza infection leads to a serious respiratory infection of the lung epithelium. Lying directly below the epithelial cells are immune system sentinels known as dendritic cells. These cells interact with the virus and carry parts of the virus to draining lymph nodes to activate killer T cells. In order to effectively carry out this function, DCs must perceive the presence of a virus using receptors specially adapted for this function. However, when DCs are mixed with influenza virus in the laboratory, no activation occurs because the virus produces a protein called NS1 that blocks the receptors. Yet, patients infected with influenza virus develop a strong adaptive response that leads to recovery from infection. This observation suggests that additional factors must be present that contribute to the activation of the DCs. The most likely contributor is type I interferon, a ubiquitous protein released from many cells upon exposure to virus. In this study, we mixed influenza virus with DCs in the presence of type I interferon and found that this greatly enhanced their activation. Treatment with interferon allowed the DC to bypass the block in activation mediated by the influenza NS1 protein. Our data suggest that the production of type I interferon within an infected patient may endow the DCs with the ability to fully respond to influenza virus.
PMCID: PMC2568957  PMID: 18974865
9.  Revisiting the Prominent Anti-Tumoral Potential of Pre-mNK Cells 
Interferon-producing killer dendritic cells (IKDC) were first described for their outstanding anti-tumoral properties. The “IKDC” terminology implied the description of a novel DC subset and initiated a debate on their cellular lineage origin. This debate shifted the focus away from their notable anti-tumoral potential. IKDC were recently redefined as precursors to mature NK (mNK) cells and consequently renamed pre-mNK cells. Importantly, a putative human equivalent of pre-mNK cells was recently associated with improved disease outcome in cancer patients. It is thus timely to revisit the functional attributes as well as the therapeutic potential of pre-mNK cells in line with their newly defined NK-cell precursor function.
PMCID: PMC3858890  PMID: 24376447
natural killer cells; cellular differentiation; pre-mNK cells; anti-tumoral activity; human; mouse
10.  Differential Roles of Lung Dendritic Cell Subsets Against Respiratory Virus Infection 
Immune Network  2014;14(3):128-137.
Respiratory viruses can induce acute respiratory disease. Clinical symptoms and manifestations are dependent on interactions between the virus and host immune system. Dendritic cells (DCs), along with alveolar macrophages, constitute the first line of sentinel cells in the innate immune response against respiratory viral infection. DCs play an essential role in regulating the immune response by bridging innate and adaptive immunity. In the steady state, lung DCs can be subdivided into CD103+ conventional DCs (cDCs), CD11b+ cDCs, and plasmacytoid DCs (pDCs). In the inflammatory state, like a respiratory viral infection, monocyte-derived DCs (moDCs) are recruited to the lung. In inflammatory lung, discrimination between moDCs and CD11b+ DCs in the inflamed lung has been a critical challenge in understanding their role in the antiviral response. In particular, CD103+ cDCs migrate from the intraepithelial base to the draining mediastinal lymph nodes to primarily induce the CD8+ T cell response against the invading virus. Lymphoid CD8α+ cDCs, which have a developmental relationship with CD103+ cDCs, also play an important role in viral antigen presentation. Moreover, pDCs have been reported to promote an antiviral response by inducing type I interferon production rather than adaptive immunity. However, the role of these cells in respiratory infections remains unclear. These different DC subsets have functional specialization against respiratory viral infection. Under certain viral infection, contextually controlling the balance of these specialized DC subsets is important for an effective immune response and maintenance of homeostasis.
PMCID: PMC4079819  PMID: 24999309
Dendritic cells; Influenza; Respiratory syncytial virus; Lung; Infection
11.  The Critical Role of Notch Ligand Delta-like 1 in the Pathogenesis of Influenza A Virus (H1N1) Infection 
PLoS Pathogens  2011;7(11):e1002341.
Influenza A viral infections have been identified as the etiologic agents for historic pandemics, and contribute to the annual mortality associated with acute viral pneumonia. While both innate and acquired immunity are important in combating influenza virus infection, the mechanism connecting these arms of the immune system remains unknown. Recent data have indicated that the Notch system is an important bridge between antigen-presenting cells (APCs) and T cell communication circuits and plays a central role in driving the immune system to overcome disease. In the present study, we examine the role of Notch signaling during influenza H1N1 virus infection, focusing on APCs. We demonstrate here that macrophages, but not dendritic cells (DCs), increased Notch ligand Delta-like 1 (Dll1) expression following influenza virus challenge. Dll1 expression on macrophages was dependent on retinoic acid-inducible gene-I (RIG-I) induced type-I IFN pathway, and not on the TLR3-TRIF pathway. We also found that IFNα-Receptor knockout mice failed to induce Dll1 expression on lung macrophages and had enhanced mortality during influenza virus infection. Our results further showed that specific neutralization of Dll1 during influenza virus challenge induced higher mortality, impaired viral clearance, and decreased levels of IFN-γ. In addition, we blocked Notch signaling by using γ-secretase inhibitor (GSI), a Notch signaling inhibitor. Intranasal administration of GSI during influenza infection also led to higher mortality, and higher virus load with excessive inflammation and an impaired production of IFN-γ in lungs. Moreover, Dll1 expression on macrophages specifically regulates IFN-γ levels from CD4+and CD8+T cells, which are important for anti-viral immunity. Together, the results of this study show that Dll1 positively influences the development of anti-viral immunity, and may provide mechanistic approaches for modifying and controlling the immune response against influenza H1N1 virus infection.
Author Summary
Influenza viruses cause annual epidemics and occasional pandemics that have claimed the lives of millions. Both innate and acquired immunity are essential for protection against influenza virus, and Notch and Notch ligands provide a key bridge between innate and acquired immunity. However, the role of Notch system during influenza virus infection is unknown. Here, we show that Notch ligand Delta-like 1 (Dll1) expression was up-regulated in influenza virus H1N1 challenged macrophages, and was dependent on both retinoic-acid–inducible protein I (RIG-I) and IFNα receptor (IFNαR)-mediated pathways. IFNαR-deficient mice challenged with influenza virus in vivo also display a profoundly impaired Dll1 expression with increased mortality and abrogated IFN-γ production. Treatment of WT mice during influenza infection, with either neutralizing antibodies specific for Dll1 or a γ-secretase inhibitor (GSI), which blocks Notch signaling, resulted in increased mortality, impaired viral clearance, and lower IFN-γ production. In addition, Dll1 specifically regulated IFN-γ production from both CD4+and CD8+T cells in vitro. Together, these results suggest that Notch signaling through macrophage-dependent Dll1 is critical in providing an anti-viral response during influenza infection by linking innate and acquired immunity.
PMCID: PMC3207886  PMID: 22072963
12.  Clearance of influenza virus from the lung depends on migratory langerin+CD11b− but not plasmacytoid dendritic cells 
The Journal of Experimental Medicine  2008;205(7):1621-1634.
Although dendritic cells (DCs) play an important role in mediating protection against influenza virus, the precise role of lung DC subsets, such as CD11b− and CD11b+ conventional DCs or plasmacytoid DCs (pDCs), in different lung compartments is currently unknown. Early after intranasal infection, tracheal CD11b−CD11chi DCs migrated to the mediastinal lymph nodes (MLNs), acquiring co-stimulatory molecules in the process. This emigration from the lung was followed by an accumulation of CD11b+CD11chi DCs in the trachea and lung interstitium. In the MLNs, the CD11b+ DCs contained abundant viral nucleoprotein (NP), but these cells failed to present antigen to CD4 or CD8 T cells, whereas resident CD11b−CD8α+ DCs presented to CD8 cells, and migratory CD11b−CD8α− DCs presented to CD4 and CD8 T cells. When lung CD11chi DCs and macrophages or langerin+CD11b−CD11chi DCs were depleted using either CD11c–diphtheria toxin receptor (DTR) or langerin-DTR mice, the development of virus-specific CD8+ T cells was severely delayed, which correlated with increased clinical severity and a delayed viral clearance. 120G8+ CD11cint pDCs also accumulated in the lung and LNs carrying viral NP, but in their absence, there was no effect on viral clearance or clinical severity. Rather, in pDC-depleted mice, there was a reduction in antiviral antibody production after lung clearance of the virus. This suggests that multiple DCs are endowed with different tasks in mediating protection against influenza virus.
PMCID: PMC2442640  PMID: 18591406
13.  Virus-specific antigen presentation by different subsets of cells from lung and mediastinal lymph node tissues of influenza virus-infected mice. 
Journal of Virology  1995;69(10):6359-6366.
Immune responses at mucosal sites are thought to be initiated in the draining lymph nodes, where dendritic cells present viral antigens and induce naive T cells to proliferate and to become effectors. Formal proof that antigen-presenting cells (APC) do indeed localize to the regional lymph nodes has been lacking for viral infections of the respiratory tract. Influenza virus was detected in the draining mediastinal lymph nodes (MLN) early after intranasal inoculation, with peak virus titers in this tissue measured at 2 days postinfection. Virus-specific cytotoxic T-lymphocyte responses were first detected in the MLN 1 day later. Macrophages, dendritic cells, and B lymphocytes were isolated from influenza virus-infected mice and assayed for the capacity to stimulate a major histocompatibility complex class I-restricted virus-specific T-cell hybridoma. All APC populations from lungs and MLN contained virus and thus had the potential to present antigen to CD8+ T cells. The APC recovered from the lungs of influenza virus-infected mice and dendritic cells from the MLN were able to stimulate virus-specific responses. The lack of a virus-specific T-cell response to B cells corresponds to the small number of virus-positive B lymphocytes in the MLN. These results indicate that dendritic cells and macrophages are antigen positive in mice acutely infected with an influenza A virus and that dendritic cells are probably responsible for initiating the cytotoxic T-lymphocyte response to influenza virus in the draining lymph nodes.
PMCID: PMC189535  PMID: 7666537
14.  Respiratory Syncytial Virus-Induced Activation and Migration of Respiratory Dendritic Cells and Subsequent Antigen Presentation in the Lung-Draining Lymph Node ▿  
Journal of Virology  2009;83(14):7235-7243.
In the respiratory tract, different dendritic cell (DC) populations guard a tight balance between tolerance and immunity to infectious or harmless materials to which the airways are continuously exposed. For infectious and noninfectious antigens administered via different routes, different subsets of DC might contribute during the induction of T-cell tolerance and immunity. We studied the impact of primary respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection on respiratory DC composition in C57BL/6 mice. We also tracked the migration of respiratory DC to the lymph nodes and studied antigen presentation by lung-derived and lymph node-resident DC to CD4+ and CD8+ T cells. We observed a massive influx of mainly CD103− CD11bhigh CD11c+ conventional DC (cDC) and plasmacytoid DC during the first 7 days of RSV infection, while CD103+ CD11blow CD11c+ cDC disappeared from the lung. The two major subsets of lung tissue DC, CD103+ CD11blow CD11c+ and CD103− CD11bhigh CD11c+ cDC, both transported RSV RNA to the lung-draining lymph node. Furthermore, these lung-derived cDC subsets as well as resident LN DC, which did not contain viral RNA, displayed viral antigen by major histocompatibility complex class I and class II to CD8+ and CD4+ T cells. Taken together, our data indicate that during RSV infections, at least three DC subsets might be involved during the activation of lymph node-homing naïve and memory CD4+ and CD8+ T cells.
PMCID: PMC2704789  PMID: 19420085
15.  Impaired immune responses in the lungs of aged mice following influenza infection 
Respiratory Research  2009;10(1):112.
Each year, influenza virus infection causes severe morbidity and mortality, particularly in the most susceptible groups including children, the elderly (>65 years-old) and people with chronic respiratory diseases. Among the several factors that contribute to the increased susceptibility in elderly populations are the higher prevalence of chronic diseases (e.g. diabetes) and the senescence of the immune system.
In this study, aged and adult mice were infected with sublethal doses of influenza virus (A/Puerto Rico/8/1934). Differences in weight loss, morbidity, virus titer and the kinetics of lung infiltration with cells of the innate and adaptive immune responses were analyzed. Additionally, the main cytokines and chemokines produced by these cells were also assayed.
Compared to adult mice, aged mice had higher morbidity, lost weight more rapidly, and recovered more slowly from infection. There was a delay in the accumulation of granulocytic cells and conventional dendritic cells (cDCs), but not macrophages in the lungs of aged mice compared to adult animals. The delayed infiltration kinetics of APCs in aged animals correlated with alteration in their activation (CD40 expression), which also correlated with a delayed detection of cytokines and chemokines in lung homogenates. This was associated with retarded lung infiltration by natural killer (NK), CD4+ and CD8+ T-cells. Furthermore, the percentage of activated (CD69+) influenza-specific and IL-2 producer CD8+ T-cells was higher in adult mice compared to aged ones. Additionally, activation (CD69+) of adult B-cells was earlier and correlated with a quicker development of neutralizing antibodies in adult animals.
Overall, alterations in APC priming and activation lead to delayed production of cytokines and chemokines in the lungs that ultimately affected the infiltration of immune cells following influenza infection. This resulted in delayed activation of the adaptive immune response and subsequent delay in clearance of virus and prolonged illness in aged animals. Since the elderly are the fastest growing segment of the population in developed countries, a better understanding of the changes that occur in the immune system during the aging process is a priority for the development of new vaccines and adjuvants to improve the immune responses in this population.
PMCID: PMC2785782  PMID: 19922665
16.  The Pulmonary Localization of Virus-Specific T Lymphocytes Is Governed by the Tissue Tropism of Infection 
Journal of Virology  2014;88(16):9010-9016.
The migration of pathogen-specific T cells into nonlymphoid tissues, such as the lung, is critical to control peripheral infections. Use of in vivo intravascular labeling of leukocytes has allowed for improved discrimination between cells located in the blood from cells present within peripheral tissues, such as the lung. This is particularly important in the lung, which is comprised of an intricate network of blood vessels that harbors a large proportion of the total blood volume at any given time. Recent work has demonstrated that >80% of antigen-specific effector CD8 T cells remain in the pulmonary vasculature following an intratracheal infection with a systemic viral pathogen. However, it remains unclear what proportion of effector CD8 T cells are located within lung tissue following a localized respiratory viral infection. We confirm that most effector and memory CD8 T cells are found in the vasculature after an intranasal infection with the systemic pathogens lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV) or vaccinia virus (VACV). In contrast, following pulmonary viral infections with either respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) or influenza A virus (IAV), 80 to 90% of the antigen-specific effector CD8 T cells were located within lung tissue. Similarly, the majority of antigen-specific CD4 T cells were present within lung tissue during a pulmonary viral infection. Furthermore, a greater proportion of gamma interferon-positive (IFN-γ+) effector CD8 and CD4 T cells were located within lung tissue following a localized respiratory viral infection. Our results indicate that T cells exhibit significantly altered distribution patterns dependent upon the tissue tropism of the infection.
IMPORTANCE The migration of T cells to nonlymphoid sites, such as the lung, is critical to mediate clearance of viral infections. The highly vascularized lung holds up to 40% of blood, and thus, the T cell response may be a reflection of lymphocytes localized to the pulmonary vasculature instead of lung tissue. We examined the localization of T cell responses within the lung following either a localized or systemic viral infection. We demonstrate that following intranasal infection with a systemic pathogen, most T cells are localized to the pulmonary vasculature. In contrast, T cells are primarily localized to lung tissue following a respiratory viral infection. Our results demonstrate vast differences in the localization of T cell responses within the lung parenchyma between pathogens that can replicate locally versus systemically and that intravascular antibody labeling can be utilized to assess the localization patterns of T cell responses in nonlymphoid organs.
PMCID: PMC4136240  PMID: 24899187
17.  Natural Killer Cells Promote Early CD8 T Cell Responses against Cytomegalovirus 
PLoS Pathogens  2007;3(8):e123.
Understanding the mechanisms that help promote protective immune responses to pathogens is a major challenge in biomedical research and an important goal for the design of innovative therapeutic or vaccination strategies. While natural killer (NK) cells can directly contribute to the control of viral replication, whether, and how, they may help orchestrate global antiviral defense is largely unknown. To address this question, we took advantage of the well-defined molecular interactions involved in the recognition of mouse cytomegalovirus (MCMV) by NK cells. By using congenic or mutant mice and wild-type versus genetically engineered viruses, we examined the consequences on antiviral CD8 T cell responses of specific defects in the ability of the NK cells to control MCMV. This system allowed us to demonstrate, to our knowledge for the first time, that NK cells accelerate CD8 T cell responses against a viral infection in vivo. Moreover, we identify the underlying mechanism as the ability of NK cells to limit IFN-α/β production to levels not immunosuppressive to the host. This is achieved through the early control of cytomegalovirus, which dramatically reduces the activation of plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDCs) for cytokine production, preserves the conventional dendritic cell (cDC) compartment, and accelerates antiviral CD8 T cell responses. Conversely, exogenous IFN-α administration in resistant animals ablates cDCs and delays CD8 T cell activation in the face of NK cell control of viral replication. Collectively, our data demonstrate that the ability of NK cells to respond very early to cytomegalovirus infection critically contributes to balance the intensity of other innate immune responses, which dampens early immunopathology and promotes optimal initiation of antiviral CD8 T cell responses. Thus, the extent to which NK cell responses benefit the host goes beyond their direct antiviral effects and extends to the prevention of innate cytokine shock and to the promotion of adaptive immunity.
Author Summary
To fight viral infections, vertebrates have developed a battery of innate and adaptive immune responses aimed at inhibiting viral replication or at killing infected cells. These responses include the early production of innate antiviral cytokines, especially interferons α and β (IFN-α/β), and the activation of cytotoxic lymphocytes such as the innate natural killer (NK) cells and the adaptive CD8 T cells. While critical for antiviral defense, cytokine or CD8 T cell responses can be detrimental or even fatal to the host when deregulated. Therefore, we need to better understand how the different arms of antiviral immunity are regulated. In particular, NK cells are proposed to play a protective role in a variety of viral infection in humans, but the underlying mechanisms remain poorly understood. Here, in a mouse model of cytomegalovirus infection, we demonstrate that NK cells prevent an excessive production of IFN-α/β and promote more efficient antiviral CD8 T cell responses. We thus show that NK cells can help promote health over disease during viral infections by regulating both innate and adaptive immune responses. It will be important to examine in humans whether NK cells control innate cytokine production to prevent immunopathology and to promote adaptive immunity against herpesviruses, HIV-1, influenza, or SARS.
PMCID: PMC1950948  PMID: 17722980
18.  Selective Susceptibility of Human Skin Antigen Presenting Cells to Productive Dengue Virus Infection 
PLoS Pathogens  2014;10(12):e1004548.
Dengue is a growing global concern with 390 million people infected each year. Dengue virus (DENV) is transmitted by mosquitoes, thus host cells in the skin are the first point of contact with the virus. Human skin contains several populations of antigen-presenting cells which could drive the immune response to DENV in vivo: epidermal Langerhans cells (LCs), three populations of dermal dendritic cells (DCs), and macrophages. Using samples of normal human skin we detected productive infection of CD14+ and CD1c+ DCs, LCs and dermal macrophages, which was independent of DC-SIGN expression. LCs produced the highest viral titers and were less sensitive to IFN-β. Nanostring gene expression data showed significant up-regulation of IFN-β, STAT-1 and CCL5 upon viral exposure in susceptible DC populations. In mice infected intra-dermally with DENV we detected parallel populations of infected DCs originating from the dermis and migrating to the skin-draining lymph nodes. Therefore dermal DCs may simultaneously facilitate systemic spread of DENV and initiate the adaptive anti-viral immune response.
Author Summary
Dengue virus (DENV) is transmitted by mosquitoes with skin as point of entry for the virus. Here, we investigated DENV infection in primary human skin cells and their initial immune response. Using skin from normal human donors for infection with DENV in vitro we identified antigen-presenting cells (APCs) as main targets of DENV. Further analysis showed that only distinct subsets of dendritic cells (DCs) and macrophages were infected and efficiently produced viral progeny. Langerhans cells were most susceptible to infection despite lacking DC-SIGN, a previously described DENV receptor. Infection of the other DC subsets and macrophages was also independent of DC-SIGN expression. Genes of the interferon pathway and CCL5, a chemokine attracting immune cells to sites of inflammation, were highly up-regulated in the infected DC subsets. Using a mouse infection model, we showed that murine dermal DCs were also susceptible to DENV and migrated to draining lymph nodes. At the same time infiltrating monocytes differentiated into monocyte-derived cells at the site of infection and became an additional target for DENV in vivo. These data demonstrate that DENV differentially infects and activates primary human skin APCs and that infected cell types individually contribute to inflammation and the adaptive response.
PMCID: PMC4256468  PMID: 25474532
19.  IRF7 Regulates TLR2-Mediated Activation of Splenic CD11chi Dendritic Cells 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(7):e41050.
Members of the Interferon Regulatory Factor (IRF) family of transcription factors play an essential role in the development and function of the immune system. Here we investigated the role of IRF7 in the functional activation of conventional CD11chi splenic dendritic cells (cDCs) in vitro and in vivo. Using mice deficient in IRF7, we found that this transcription factor was dispensable for the in vivo development of cDC subsets in the spleen. However, IRF7-deficient cDCs showed enhanced activation in response to microbial stimuli, characterised by exaggerated expression of CD80, CD86 and MHCII upon TLR2 ligation in vitro. The hyper-responsiveness of Irf7−/− cDC to TLR ligation could not be reversed with exogenous IFNα, nor by co-culture with wild-type cDCs, suggesting an intrinsic defect due to IRF7-deficiency. Irf7−/− cDCs also had impaired capacity to produce IL-12p70 when stimulated ex vivo, instead producing elevated levels of IL-10 that impaired their capacity to drive Th1 responses. Finally, analysis of bone marrow microchimeric mice revealed that cDCs deficient in IRF7 were also hyper-responsive to TLR2-mediated activation in vivo. Our data suggest a previously unknown function for IRF7 as a component of the regulatory network associated with cDC activation and adds to the wide variety of situations in which these transcription factors play a role.
PMCID: PMC3398003  PMID: 22815909
20.  Antigen Load and Viral Sequence Diversification Determine the Functional Profile of HIV-1–Specific CD8+ T Cells 
PLoS Medicine  2008;5(5):e100.
Virus-specific CD8+ T lymphocytes play a key role in the initial reduction of peak viremia during acute viral infections, but display signs of increasing dysfunction and exhaustion under conditions of chronic antigen persistence. It has been suggested that virus-specific CD8+ T cells with a “polyfunctional” profile, defined by the capacity to secrete multiple cytokines or chemokines, are most competent in controlling viral replication in chronic HIV-1 infection. We used HIV-1 infection as a model of chronic persistent viral infection to investigate the process of exhaustion and dysfunction of virus-specific CD8+ T cell responses on the single-epitope level over time, starting in primary HIV-1 infection.
Methods and Findings
We longitudinally analyzed the polyfunctional epitope-specific CD8+ T cell responses of 18 patients during primary HIV-1 infection before and after therapy initiation or sequence variation in the targeted epitope. Epitope-specific CD8+ T cells responded with multiple effector functions to antigenic stimulation during primary HIV-1 infection, but lost their polyfunctional capacity in response to antigen and up-regulated programmed death 1 (PD-1) expression with persistent viremic infection. This exhausted phenotype significantly decreased upon removal of stimulation by antigen, either in response to antiretroviral therapy or by reduction of epitope-specific antigen load in the presence of ongoing viral replication, as a consequence of in vivo selection of cytotoxic T lymphocyte escape mutations in the respective epitopes. Monofunctionality increased in CD8+ T cell responses directed against conserved epitopes from 49% (95% confidence interval 27%–72%) to 76% (56%–95%) (standard deviation [SD] of the effect size 0.71), while monofunctionality remained stable or slightly decreased for responses directed against escaped epitopes from 61% (47%–75%) to 56% (42%–70%) (SD of the effect size 0.18) (p < 0.05).
These data suggest that persistence of antigen can be the cause, rather than the consequence, of the functional impairment of virus-specific T cell responses observed during chronic HIV-1 infection, and underscore the importance of evaluating autologous viral sequences in studies aimed at investigating the relationship between virus-specific immunity and associated pathogenesis.
Marcus Altfeld and colleagues suggest that the exhaustion of virus-specific CD8+ T cells during chronic HIV infection likely results from the persistence of antigen.
Editors' Summary
Viruses are small infectious agents responsible for many human diseases, including acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). Like other viruses, the human immunodeficiency virus 1 (HIV-1; the cause of AIDS) enters human cells and uses the cellular machinery to replicate before bursting out of its temporary home. During the initial stage of HIV infection, a particular group of cells in the human immune system, CD8+ T cells, are thought to be important in controlling the level of the virus. These immune system cells recognize pieces of viral protein called antigens displayed on the surface of infected cells; different subsets of CD8+ T cells recognize different antigens. When a CD8+ T cell recognizes its specific antigen (or more accurately, a small part of the antigen called an “epitope”), it releases cytotoxins (which kill the infected cells) and cytokines, proteins that stimulate CD8+ T cell proliferation and activate other parts of the immune system. With many viruses, when a person first becomes infected (an acute viral infection), antigen-specific CD8+ T cells completely clear the infection. But with HIV-1 and some other viruses, these cells do not manage to remove all the viruses from the body and a chronic (long-term) infection develops, during which the immune system is constantly exposed to viral antigen.
Why Was This Study Done?
In HIV-1 infections (and other chronic viral infections), virus-specific CD8+ T cells lose their ability to proliferate, to make cytokines, and to kill infected cells as patients progress to the long-term stages of infection. That is, the virus-specific CD8+ T cells gradually lose their “effector” functions and become functionally impaired or “exhausted.” “Polyfunctional” CD8+ T cells (those that release multiple cytokines in response to antigen) are believed to be essential for an effective CD8+ T cell response, so scientists trying to develop HIV-1 vaccines would like to stimulate the production of this type of cell. To do this they need to understand why these polyfunctional cells are lost during chronic infections. Is their loss the cause or the result of viral persistence? In other words, does the constant presence of viral antigen lead to the exhaustion of CD8+ T cells during chronic HIV infection? In this study, the researchers investigate this question by looking at the polyfunctionality of CD8+ cells responding to several different viral epitopes at various times during HIV-1 infection, starting very early after infection with HIV-1 had occurred.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers enrolled 18 patients recently infected with HIV-1 and analyzed their CD8+ T cell responses to specific epitopes at various times after enrollment using a technique called flow cytometry. They found that the epitope-specific CD8+ cells produced several effector proteins after antigen stimulation during the initial stage of HIV-1 infection, but lost their polyfunctionality in the face of persistent viral infection. The CD8+ T cells also increased their production of programmed death 1 (PD-1), a protein that has been shown to be associated with the functional impairment of CD8+ T cells. Some of the patients began antiretroviral therapy during the study, and the researchers found that this treatment, which reduced the viral load, reversed CD8+ T cell exhaustion. Finally, the appearance in the patients' blood of viruses that had made changes in the specific epitopes recognized by the CD8+ T cells to avoid being killed by these cells, also reversed the exhaustion of the T cells recognizing these particular epitopes.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings suggest that the constant presence of HIV-1 antigen causes the functional impairment of virus-specific CD8+ T cell responses during chronic HIV-1 infections. Treatment with antiretroviral drugs reversed this functional impairment by reducing the amount of antigen in the patients. Similarly, the appearance of viruses with altered epitopes, which effectively reduced the amount of antigen recognized by those epitope-specific CD8+ T cells without reducing the viral load, also reversed T cell exhaustion. These results would not have been seen if the functional impairment of CD8+ cells were the cause rather than the result of antigen persistence. By providing new insights into how the T cell response to viruses evolves during persistent viral infections, these findings should help in the design of vaccines against HIV and other viruses that cause chronic viral infections.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
Read a related PLoS Medicine Research in Translation article
Learn more from the researchers' Web site, the Partners AIDS Research Center
Wikipedia has a page on cytotoxic T cells (note that Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia that anyone can edit; available in several languages)
Information is available from the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases on HIV infection and AIDS
HIV InSite has comprehensive information on all aspects of HIV/AIDS, including a detailed article on the immunopathogenesis of HIV infection
NAM, a UK registered charity, provides information about all aspects of HIV and AIDS, including a fact sheet on the stages of HIV infection and on the immune response to HIV
Information is available from Avert, an international AIDS charity, on all aspects of HIV/AIDS, including information on the stages of HIV infection
PMCID: PMC2365971  PMID: 18462013
21.  Spleen-Resident CD4+ and CD4− CD8α− Dendritic Cell Subsets Differ in Their Ability to Prime Invariant Natural Killer T Lymphocytes 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(10):e26919.
One important function of conventional dendritic cells (cDC) is their high capacity to capture, process and present Ag to T lymphocytes. Mouse splenic cDC subtypes, including CD8α+ and CD8α− cDC, are not identical in their Ag presenting and T cell priming functions. Surprisingly, few studies have reported functional differences between CD4− and CD4+ CD8α− cDC subsets. We show that, when loaded in vitro with OVA peptide or whole protein, and in steady-state conditions, splenic CD4− and CD4+ cDC are equivalent in their capacity to prime and direct CD4+ and CD8+ T cell differentiation. In contrast, in response to α-galactosylceramide (α-GalCer), CD4− and CD4+ cDC differentially activate invariant Natural Killer T (iNKT) cells, a population of lipid-reactive non-conventional T lymphocytes. Both cDC subsets equally take up α-GalCer in vitro and in vivo to stimulate the iNKT hybridoma DN32.D3, the activation of which depends solely on TCR triggering. On the other hand, and relative to their CD4+ counterparts, CD4− cDC more efficiently stimulate primary iNKT cells, a phenomenon likely due to differential production of co-factors (including IL-12) by cDC. Our data reveal a novel functional difference between splenic CD4+ and CD4− cDC subsets that may be important in immune responses.
PMCID: PMC3204990  PMID: 22066016
22.  Zinc finger transcription factor zDC is a negative regulator required to prevent activation of classical dendritic cells in the steady state 
The Journal of Experimental Medicine  2012;209(9):1583-1593.
Conventional DCs from mice lacking zDC (also known as Zbtb46) express more MHCII and produce more VEGF in the steady state.
Classical dendritic cells (cDCs) process and present antigens to T cells. Under steady-state conditions, antigen presentation by cDCs induces tolerance. In contrast, during infection or inflammation, cDCs become activated, express higher levels of cell surface MHC molecules, and induce strong adaptive immune responses. We recently identified a cDC-restricted zinc finger transcription factor, zDC (also known as Zbtb46 or Btbd4), that is not expressed by other immune cell populations, including plasmacytoid DCs, monocytes, or macrophages. We define the zDC consensus DNA binding motif and the genes regulated by zDC using chromatin immunoprecipitation and deep sequencing. By deleting zDC from the mouse genome, we show that zDC is primarily a negative regulator of cDC gene expression. zDC deficiency alters the cDC subset composition in the spleen in favor of CD8+ DCs, up-regulates activation pathways in steady-state cDCs, including elevated MHC II expression, and enhances cDC production of vascular endothelial growth factor leading to increased vascularization of skin-draining lymph nodes. Consistent with these observations, zDC protein expression is rapidly down-regulated after TLR stimulation. Thus, zDC is a TLR-responsive, cDC-specific transcriptional repressor that is in part responsible for preventing cDC maturation in the steady state.
PMCID: PMC3428942  PMID: 22851594
23.  On the heterogeneity of murine natural killer cells 
The heterogeneity of cells capable exerting spontaneous cytotoxicity in vitro was explored using antisera to several genetically determined surface markers on mouse lymphocytes. Four phenotypes of cells derived either from fresh or cultured murine lymphoid tissue were found to exert natural killer (NK) activity in vitro. One affector cell subset, termed NKI cells, had the serological phenotype of Thy-1-, Lyt-2-, Qa5+, and lysed measles virus persistently infected target cells (HeLa- Ms) but not P815 mastocytoma cells. It corresponds with the NK cells described in most systems in which lymphoma targets are commonly used. A second subset, with the same target cell specificity, termed NKT is a thymus-independent cell with the phenotype Thy-1+, Lyt-2-, Qa-5+, Ly- 5+. A third subset of NK cells, termed T killer (TK) cells deriving from cultures of conventional but not nude mouse spleens, mediated spontaneous cytotoxicity of P815 mastocytoma cells, but not of virus- infected targets. It has a phenotype of Thy-1+, Lyt-2+, Qa-5-, Ly-5+, apparently identical with that of conventional, antigen-specific cytotoxic T lymphocytes. The fourth phenotype of NK cells, termed NKM, derived primarily from cultures of bone marrow, is cytotoxic for HeLa- measles but not P815, and expresses only Ly-5+ among the various markers tested. Beige mice possess normal TK and NKM activities, but had normal NKI, NKT as well as NKM activity. All NK cell subsets express the Ly-5 surface marker. The existence of four phenotypically distinct NK effector cells was strengthened by studies on selective regulation of their activity by two different biological factors. Interferon (IFN) augmented NK activity of primarily one of the subsets examined, the NKI cell; the activity of IFN on NKT cells could not be directly tested, but IFN was without positive effect on TK or NKM cells. In contrast, partially purified IFN-free interleuken 2 (IL-2) augmented the activities of both the TK and NKT subsets, but not of NKI or NKM cell. IL-2 was active in augmenting NK activity in spleen cells obtained from both conventional and nu/nu mice, but was without effect on spleens of nu/nu mice depleted of Thy-1+ cells. These and other data suggest that IL-2 acts primarily, if not exclusively, on THy-1+ cells. These results strengthen the view that natural cytotoxicity in vitro can be mediated by several distinct cell populations under different genetic and regulatory control and indicate the importance of defining and delineating the cell lineages of each and the role of the independent subsets in resistance to virus infections and tumors in vivo.
PMCID: PMC2186444  PMID: 6168724
24.  Absence of IFN-β impairs antigen presentation capacity of splenic dendritic cells via down-regulation of Hsp701 
Type I interferons (IFNs) play a key role in linking the innate and adaptive arms of the immune system. Although produced rapidly in response to pathogens, IFNs are also produced at low levels in the absence of infection. In the present study we demonstrate that constitutively produced IFNs are necessary in vivo to maintain dendritic cells (DCs) in an “antigen presentation competent” state. Conventional dendritic cells (cDCs) isolated from spleens of IFN-β or IFNs receptor (IFNAR) deficient mice exhibit a highly impaired ability to present antigen and activate naive T cells. Microarray analysis of mRNA isolated from IFN-β-/- and IFNAR-/- cDCs revealed diminished expression of two genes that encoded members of the heat shock protein 70 (Hsp70) family. Consistent with this observation, pharmacological inhibition of Hsp70 in cDCs from wild type (WT) mice impaired their T cell stimulatory capacity. Similarly, the antigen presentation ability of splenic cDCs isolated from Hsp70.1/3-/- mice was also severely impaired in comparison to WT cDCs. Thus, constitutive IFN-β expression regulates Hsp70 levels in order to help maintain DCs in a competent state for efficient priming of effector T cells in vivo.
PMCID: PMC2756009  PMID: 19581626
Dendritic cells; T cells; MHC; Antigen Presentation/Processing; Tolerance
25.  Functional redundancy between thymic CD8α+ and Sirpα+ conventional dendritic cells in presentation of blood-derived lysozyme by class II-MHC proteins 
We evaluated the presentation of blood-derived protein antigens by antigen presenting cells (APC) in the thymus. Two conventional dendritic cells (cDC), the CD8α+Sirpα−CD11chi (CD8α+cDC) and the CD8α−Sirpα+ CD11chi cells (Sirpα+cDC), were previously identified as presenting class II-MHC bound peptides from hen egg-white lysozyme (HEL) injected intravenously. All thymic APC acquired the injected HEL, with the plasmacytoid DC (pDC) being the best, followed by the Sirpα+ cDC and the CD8α+cDC. Both cDC induced to similar extent negative selection and Tregs in HEL T cell receptor (TCR) transgenic mice, indicating a redundant role of the two cDC subsets in the presentation of blood-borne HEL. Immature DC or pDC were considerably less efficient. Batf3−/− mice, with significantly reduced numbers of CD8α+cDC, were not impaired in HEL presentation by I-Ak molecules of thymic APC. Lastly, clodronate-liposome (CLOD-LIP) treatment of TCR transgenic mice depleted blood APC including Sirpα+ cDC, without affecting the number of thymic APC. In such treated mice there was no effect on negative selection or Tregs in mice when administering HEL, indicating that the T cell responses were mediated primarily by the cDC localized in the thymus.
PMCID: PMC3509769  PMID: 21178002

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