The role APCs play in the transition of T cells from effector to memory remains largely undefined. This is likely due to the low frequency at which long-lived T cells arise, which hinders analysis of the events involved in memory development. In this study, we used TCR transgenic T cells to increase the frequency of long-lived T cells and developed a transfer model suitable for defining the contribution of APCs to the development of CD4 T cell memory. Accordingly, naive TCR transgenic T cells were stimulated in vitro with Ag presented by different types of APCs and transferred into MHC class II-deficient mice for parking, and the hosts were later analyzed for long-lived T cell frequency or challenged with suboptimal dose of Ag, and the long-lived cells-driven memory responses were measured. The findings indicate that B cells and CD8a+ dendritic cells sustained elevated frequencies of long-lived T cells that yielded rapid and robust memory responses upon rechallenge with suboptimal dose of Ag. Furthermore, both types of APCs had significant programmed death (PD) ligand 2 expression prior to Ag stimulation, which was maintained at a high level during presentation of Ag to T cells. Blockade of PD ligand 2 interaction with its receptor PD-1 nullified the development of memory responses. These previously unrecognized findings suggest that targeting specific APCs for Ag presentation during vaccination could prove effective against microbial infections.
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