T-bet:Eomes Balance, Effector Function, and Proliferation of Cytomegalovirus-specific CD8+ T Cells During Primary Infection Differentiates the Capacity for Durable Immune Control

Popescu et al., J Immunol. (2014) - PMID: 25339676

Product(s) used in this publication: PepMix™ Peptide Pools


CMV remains an important opportunistic pathogen in solid organ transplantation, particularly in lung transplant recipients (LTRs). LTRs mismatched for CMV (donor+/recipient-; D+R-) are at high-risk for active CMV infection and increased mortality, however the immune correlates of viral control remain incompletely understood. We prospectively studied 23 D+R- LTRs during primary CMV infection to determine whether acute CD8(+) T cell parameters differentiated the capacity for viral control in early chronic infection. T-box transcription factors expression patterns of T-bet > Eomesodermin (Eomes) differentiated LTR controllers from viremic relapsers and reciprocally correlated with granzyme B loading, and CMV phosphoprotein 65 (pp65)-specific CD8(+)IFN-γ(+) and CD107a(+) frequencies. LTR relapsers demonstrated reduced CD8(+)Ki67(+) cells ex vivo and substantially impaired CD8(+)pp65-specific in vitro proliferative responses at 6 d, with concomitantly lower pp65-specific CD4(+)IL-2(+) frequencies, as compared with LTR controllers. However, CMV-specific in vitro proliferative responses could be significantly rescued, most effectively with pp65 Ag and exogenous IL-2, resulting in an increased T-bet:Eomes balance, and enhanced effector function. Using class I CMV tetramers, we observed similar frequencies between relapsers and controllers, although reduced T-bet:Eomes balance in tetramer(+) cells from relapsers, along with impaired CD8(+) effector responses to tetramer-peptide restimulation. Taken together, these data show impaired CMV-specific CD8(+) effector responses is not for complete lack of CMV-specific cells but rather underscores the importance of the T-bet:Eomes balance, with CMV-specific proliferation a key factor driving early T-bet expression and effector function in CD8(+) T cells during primary infection and differentiating the capacity of high-risk LTRs to establish immune control during early chronic infection.

Copyright © 2014 by The American Association of Immunologists, Inc.

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