CD8 T cell populations restricted by H2-M3 MHC class Ib molecules expand rapidly during primary Listeria monocytogenes infection but only minimally upon reinfection. In contrast, CD8 T cells restricted by MHC class Ia molecules undergo more delayed expansion during primary infection but rapid and robust expansion following reinfection. In this study we demonstrate that primary H2-M3-restricted CD8 T cell responses are unaffected by the frequency of naive MHC class Ia-restricted T cells during L. monocytogenes infection. The magnitude of H2-M3-restricted memory responses, in contrast, is down-modulated by increasing frequencies of MHC class Ia-restricted effector T cells following secondary systemic infection. Suppression by MHC class Ia-restricted T cells, however, is not a universal feature of MHC class Ib-restricted memory responses. Primary systemic L. monocytogenes infection followed by secondary tissue infection, for example, results in robust expansion of H2-M3-restricted memory T cells in draining lymph nodes, despite the activation of MHC class Ia-restricted memory T cell responses. Thus, whereas MHC class Ia-restricted memory T cell populations predominate in spleens following systemic reinfection, H2-M3-restricted memory T cell responses remain prominent in lymph nodes draining localized infections. Our studies demonstrate that interactions between CD8 T cell populations can differ, depending on the status of the responding T cells (naive vs memory) and the route of reinfection. These results may have important implications for prime-boost vaccination strategies.
Using genetic and phenotypic analyses, we have analyzed the developmental pathway of mouse CD1d-restricted invariant NKT cells. We provide strong evidence that similar to conventional T cells, positive selection of NKT cells occurs during a CD4(+)CD8(+) stage. Later stages of NKT cell development involved the down-regulation of both TCR and CD4 levels and therefore diverge from conventional T cell development pathways. A unique and complete dependency for development on Fyn, a Src family kinase member, also distinguishes the NKT cell and conventional T cell populations.
Prime-boost immunization is a promising strategy for inducing and amplifying pathogen- or tumor-specific memory CD8 T cell responses. Although expansion of CD8 T cell populations following the second Ag dose is integral to the prime-boost strategy, it remains unclear when, after priming, memory T cells become competent to proliferate. In this study, we show that Ag-specific CD8 T cells with the capacity to undergo extensive expansion are already present at the peak of the primary immune response in mice. These early memory T cells represent a small fraction of the primary immune response and, at early time points, their potential to proliferate is obscured by large effector T cell populations that rapidly clear Ag upon reimmunization. With sufficient Ag boosting, however, secondary expansion of these memory cells can be induced as early as 5-7 days following primary immunization. Importantly, both early and delayed boosting result in similar levels of protective immunity to subsequent pathogen challenge. Early commitment and differentiation of memory T cells during primary immunization suggest that a short duration between priming and boosting is feasible, providing potential logistic advantages for large-scale prime-boost vaccination of human populations.
H2-M3-restricted T cells respond more rapidly to primary Listeria monocytogenes infection than conventional MHC class Ia-restricted T cells. Reinfection with L. monocytogenes, while inducing explosive proliferation of H2-K(d)-restricted T cells, does not stimulate significant expansion of H2-M3-restricted CTL. These disparate responses to reinfection are apparent within 5 days of primary L. monocytogenes infection. However, H2-M3-restricted memory T cells are generated, and are indistinguishable from classically restricted T cells in terms of cell surface memory markers and longevity. Early responses of H2-M3- and H2-K(d)-restricted memory T cells to reinfection are similar, with increases in size and expression of activation markers. Interestingly, priming of H2-M3-restricted T cells with an L. monocytogenes-derived N-formyl peptide plus anti-CD40 generates memory T cells that expand upon re-exposure to Ag during L. monocytogenes infection. Our data indicate that disparate H2-M3- and MHC class Ia-restricted memory T cell responses reflect intrinsic differences between these T cell populations. Although distinct proliferative programs appear to be hardwired in these populations during primary L. monocytogenes infection, under different inflammatory circumstances M3-restricted T cell populations can maintain the ability to expand upon re-exposure to Ag.
Murine infection with the Gram-positive intracellular bacterium Listeria monocytogenes activates CD8(+) T cells that recognize bacterially derived N-formyl methionine peptides in the context of H2-M3 MHC class Ib molecules. Three peptides, fMIGWII, fMIVIL, and fMIVTLF, are targets of L. monocytogenes-specific CD8(+) T cells. To investigate epitope cross-recognition by H2-M3-restricted CD8(+) T cells, we deleted the sequence encoding fMIGWII from a virulent strain of L. monocytogenes. Infection with fMIGWII-deficient L. monocytogenes unexpectedly primed CD8(+) T cells that stain with fMIGWII/H2-M3 tetramers and lyse fMIGWII-coated target cells in vivo. Because the fMIGWII sequence is nonredundant, we speculated that other bacterially derived Ags are priming these responses. HPLC peptide fractionation of bacterial culture supernatants revealed several distinct L. monocytogenes-derived peptides that are recognized by fMIGWII-specific T cells. Our results demonstrate that the dominant H2-M3-restricted CD8(+) T cell population, although reactive with fMIGWII, is primed by other, non-fMIGWII peptides derived from L. monocytogenes. Although this degree of Ag receptor promiscuity is unusual for the adaptive immune system, it may be a more common feature of T cell responses restricted by nonpolymorphic MHC class Ib molecules.