Recognition of the major histocompatibility complex restriction element modulates CD8(+) T cell specificity and compensates for loss of T cell receptor contacts with the specific peptide.
Triggering of a T cell requires interaction between its specific receptor (TCR) and a peptide antigen presented by a self-major histocompatibility complex (MHC) molecule. TCR recognition of self-MHC by itself falls below the threshold of detection in most systems due to low affinity. To study this interaction, we have used a read-out system in which antigen-specific effector T cells are confronted with targets expressing high levels of MHC compared with the selecting and priming environment. More specifically, the system is based on CD8(+) T cells selected in an environment with subnormal levels of MHC class I in the absence of beta2-microglobulin. We observe that the MHC restriction element can trigger viral peptide-specific T cells independently of the peptide ligand, provided there is an increase in self-MHC density. Peptide-independent triggering required at least four times the natural in vivo level of MHC expression. Furthermore, recognition of the restriction element at expression levels below this threshold was still enough to compensate for lack of affinity to peptides carrying alanine substitutions in major TCR contact residues. Thus, the specificity in TCR recognition and T cell activation is fine tuned by the avidity for self-MHC, and TCR avidities for peptide and MHC may substitute for each other. These results demonstrate a functional role for TCR avidity for self-MHC in tuning of T cell specificity, and support a role for cross-reactivity on "self" during T cell selection and activation. (+info)
Cytotoxic T lymphocyte-associated antigen 4 (CTLA-4) can regulate dendritic cell-induced activation and cytotoxicity of CD8(+) T cells independently of CD4(+) T cell help.
The mechanisms that regulate the strength and duration of CD8(+) cytotoxic T cell activity determine the effectiveness of an antitumor immune response. To better understand the antitumor effects of anti-cytotoxic T lymphocyte-associated antigen 4 (CTLA-4) antibody treatment, we analyzed the effect of CTLA-4 signaling on CD8(+) T cells in vitro and in vivo. In vitro, cross-linking of CTLA-4 on purified CD8(+) T cells caused decreased proliferative responses to anti-CD3 stimulation and rapid loss of activation marker expression. In vivo, blockade of CTLA-4 by neutralizing anti-CTLA-4 mAb greatly enhanced the accumulation, activation, and cytotoxic activity of CD8(+) T cells induced by immunization with Ag on dendritic cells (DC). This enhanced response did not require the expression of MHC class II molecules on DC or the presence of CD4(+) T cells. These results demonstrate that CTLA-4 blockade is able to directly enhance the proliferation and activation of specific CD8(+) T cells, indicating its potential for tumor immunotherapy even in situations in which CD4(+) T cell help is limited or absent. (+info)
Use of a high-affinity peptide that aborts MHC-restricted cytotoxic T lymphocyte activity against multiple viruses in vitro and virus-induced immunopathologic disease in vivo.
Binding of a specific peptide(s) from a viral protein to major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I molecules is a critical step in the activation of CD8(+) cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs). Once activated, CTLs can cause lethal disease in an infected host, for example, by killing virus-containing ependymal and ventricular cells in the central nervous system or viral protein-expressing beta cells in the pancreatic islets of Langerhans. Here we describe the usage of a designed (not natural) high-affinity peptide to compete with viral peptide(s)-MHC binding. This peptide blocks virus-induced CTL-mediated disease both in the CNS and in the pancreatic islets in vivo. Further, the blocking peptide aborts MHC-restricted killing of target cells by CTLs generated to three separate viruses: lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus, influenza virus, and simian virus 40. (+info)
In vivo selection of neutralization-resistant virus variants but no evidence of B cell tolerance in lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus carrier mice expressing a transgenic virus-neutralizing antibody.
B cell tolerance is maintained by active deletion and functional anergy of self-reactive B cells depending on the time, amount, and site of the self-antigen expression. To study B cell tolerance toward a transplacentally transmitted viral Ag, we crossed transgenic mice expressing the mu heavy and the kappa light chain of the lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV)-neutralizing mAb KL25 (HL25-transgenic mice) with persistently infected LCMV carrier mice. Although HL25-transgenic LCMV carrier mice exhibited the same high virus titers as nontransgenic LCMV carrier mice, no evidence for B cell tolerance was found. In contrast, enhanced LCMV-neutralizing Ab titers were measured that, however, did not clear the virus. Instead, LCMV isolates from different tissues turned out to be neutralization resistant Ab escape variants expressing different substitutions of amino acid Asn119 of the LCMV-glycoprotein 1 that displays the neutralizing B cell epitope. Virus variants with the same mutations were also selected in vitro in the presence of the transgenic mAb KL25 confirming that substitutions of Asn119 have been selected by LCMV-neutralizing Abs. Thus, despite abundant expression of viral neo-self-antigen in HL25-transgenic LCMV carrier mice, transgenic B cells expressing LCMV-neutralizing Abs were rather stimulated than tolerized and neutralization resistant Ab escape variants were selected in vivo. (+info)
Identification of MaTu-MX agent as a new strain of lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV) and serological indication of horizontal spread of LCMV in human population.
In this study we elucidated the molecular character of MaTu-MX, previously described as an unusual transmissible agent. Amino acid sequencing of peptides generated from a 58-kDa MX-related protein purified from MaTu human carcinoma cells allowed us to identify it as a nucleoprotein (NP) of lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV). Northern blot analysis detected LCMV-specific RNAs in MaTu cells. Comparative immunoprecipitations showed cross-reactivity between NP of LCMV strain WE and MX NP. Using RT-PCR, we have cloned MX NP cDNA. According to sequence comparison, MX LCMV is as closely related to both LCMV strains WE and Armstrong as these strains are to one another. Based on this finding we propose that MX is a new strain of LCMV. We also showed that the stability of MX NP in MaTu cells is very high and that the virus is transmissible by cell-to-cell contact or by cell-free extract to human HeLa and monkey Vero cells, but not to human AGS, canine MDCK, mouse NIH 3T3, and hamster CHO cells. Finally, employing MX LCMV NP in immunoprecipitation and solid-phase radioimmunoassay, we found 37.5% prevalence of anti-LCMV antibodies in human sera, suggesting possible horizontal spread of the virus in the human population. (+info)
Two roads diverged: interferon alpha/beta- and interleukin 12-mediated pathways in promoting T cell interferon gamma responses during viral infection.
Viral infections induce CD8 T cell expansion and interferon (IFN)-gamma production for defense, but the innate cytokines shaping these responses have not been identified. Although interleukin (IL)-12 has the potential to contribute, IL-12-dependent T cell IFN-gamma has not been detected during viral infections. Moreover, certain viruses fail to induce IL-12, and elicit high levels of IFN-alpha/beta to negatively regulate it. The endogenous factors promoting virus-induced T cell IFN-gamma production were defined in studies evaluating CD8 T cell responses during lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus infections of mice. Two divergent supporting pathways were characterized. Under normal conditions of infections, the CD8 T cell IFN-gamma response was dependent on endogenous IFN-alpha/beta effects, but was IL-12 independent. In contrast, in the absence of IFN-alpha/beta functions, an IL-12 response was revealed and substituted an alternative pathway to IFN-gamma. IFN-alpha/beta-mediated effects resulted in enhanced, but the alternative pathway also promoted, resistance to infection. These observations define uniquely important IFN-alpha/beta-controlled pathways shaping T cell responses during viral infections, and demonstrate plasticity of immune responses in accessing divergent innate mechanisms to achieve similar ultimate goals. (+info)
A novel approach to visualize polyclonal virus-specific CD8 T cells in vivo.
Recent technical breakthroughs in generating soluble MHC class I-peptide tetramers now allow the direct visualization of virus-specific CD8 T cells after infection in vivo. However, this technique requires the knowledge of the immunodominant viral epitopes recognized by T cells. Here, we describe an alternative approach to visualize polyclonal virus-specific CD8 T cells in vivo using a simple adoptive transfer system. In our approach, C57BL/6 (Thy1.2) mice were infected with lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus, vesicular stomatitis virus, or vaccinia virus to induce virus-specific memory T cells. Tracer T cells (2 x 106) from these virus-immune mice were adoptively transferred into nonirradiated (C57BL/6 x B6.PL-Thy-1a)F1 mice. After infection of the F1-recipient mice with the appropriate virus, the transferred cells expanded vigorously, and on day 8 postinfection 60-80% of total CD8 T cells were of donor T cell origin. Under the same conditions memory CD4 T cells gave rise to at least 10 times less cell numbers than memory CD8 T cells. The transfer system described here not only allows to visualize effector and memory CD8 T cells in vivo but also to isolate them for further in vitro characterization without knowing the epitopes recognized by these Ag-specific CD8 T cells. (+info)
Synergism for cytokine-mediated disease during concurrent endotoxin and viral challenges: roles for NK and T cell IFN-gamma production.
Viral infections in humans or mice can result in increased sensitivity to challenges with bacteria, bacterial products, or cytokine administration. During lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus infections, mice are more sensitive to the lethal effects of bacterial endotoxin LPS, and in the experiments reported here, were observed at up to 10-fold lower doses in infected than in uninfected mice. The mechanisms responsible for heightened susceptibility under these conditions were evaluated. Kinetic studies demonstrated that virus-infected mice had 3- to 50-fold increases over uninfected mice in peak serum TNF, IL-12, and IFN-gamma levels after LPS administration. All three cytokines contributed to lethality during dual challenge, because neutralization of any one of the factors protected from death. Production of TNF was not dependent on either NK or T cells. In contrast, these populations were the predominant sources of IFN-gamma, as determined by lack of detectable IFN-gamma production in NK and T cell-deficient mice and by intracellular cytokine expression in the cell subsets. Concordant with the demonstrations that both cell populations produced IFN-gamma and that this factor was critical for lethality, removal of either subset alone was not sufficient to protect mice from death resulting from dual challenges. Increased resistance required absence of both cell subsets. Taken together, the data show that during viral infections, the normally protective immune responses can profoundly modify reactions to secondary heterologous challenges, to result in dysregulated cytokine expression and consequent heightened detrimental effects. (+info)