Following influenza A virus (IAV) infection, development of a robust IAV-specific CD8 T cell response is required for clearance of primary infection and enhances memory protection. Following IAV infection, plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDC) or CD8α+ DC regulate pulmonary effector CD8 T cell responses within the lung. Without this DC-T cell interaction, insufficient effector CD8 T cells are maintained in the lungs, leading to enhanced morbidity and mortality. Previous studies have demonstrated that pDC are capable of classical presentation or cross-presentation of IAV antigens and could potentially regulate IAV-specific CD8 T cell responses through either mechanism. Our results demonstrate that pDC from the lungs of donor mice infected with an IAV that is not able to replicate in hematopoietic cells (142t-IAV), unlike donor pDC isolated from the lungs of control infected mice, are not able to rescue the host IAV-specific CD8 T cell response from apoptosis. This indicates that pDC must utilize the direct presentation pathway for this rescue. This inability of pDC from 142t-IAV donors to rescue the IAV-specific CD8 T cell response is not due to differences in the overall ability of 142t-IAV to replicate within the lungs or generate defective viral genomes or to differences in levels of costimulatory molecules required for this interaction. We further demonstrate that bypassing the antigen presentation pathway by coating the 142t-IAV pDC with IAV peptide epitopes restores their ability to rescue the IAV-specific CD8 T cell response.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by NIH grants AI071085 (to K.L.L.), T32 AI007533 (to E.A.H.), and T32 AI007485 (to E.A.H.).