Protective Response to Leishmania major in BALB/c Mice Requires Antigen Processing in the Absence of DM

Laboratory of Cellular and Molecular Immunology, T-Cell Tolerance and Memory Section, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.
The Journal of Immunology (Impact Factor: 4.92). 05/2009; 182(8):4882-90. DOI: 10.4049/jimmunol.0803956
Source: PubMed


Protection from the parasite Leishmania major is mediated by CD4 T cells. BALB/c mice are susceptible to L. major and show a nonprotective immunodominant CD4 T cell response to Leishmania homolog of activated receptor for c-kinase (LACK) 158-173. Host genes that underlie BALB/c susceptibility to L. major infections are poorly defined. DM, a nonclassical MHC class II molecule, due to its peptide editing properties has been shown to 1) edit the repertoire of peptides displayed by APC, and 2) focus the display of epitopes by APC to the immunodominant ones. We tested the hypothesis that deficiency of DM, by causing presentation of a different array of epitopes by infected APC than that presented by DM-sufficient APC, may change the course of L. major infection in the susceptible BALB/c mice. We show herein that unlike their susceptible wild-type counterparts, BALB/c mice deficient in DM are protected from infections with L. major. Furthermore, DM-deficient mice fail to display the immunodominant LACK 158-173 on infected APC. In its place, infected DM(-/-) hosts show elicitation of CD4 T cells specific for newer epitopes not presented by wild-type L. major-infected APC. Protection of BALB/c DM(-/-) mice is dependent on IFN-gamma. DM is thus a host susceptibility gene in BALB/c mice, and Ag processing in the absence of DM results in elicitation of a protective T cell response against L. major infections. This report suggests a novel mechanism to trigger host resistance against pathogens.

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    ABSTRACT: Control of parasitic protozoan infections requires the generation of efficient innate and adaptive immune responses, and in most cases both CD8 and CD4 T cells are necessary for host survival. Since intracellular protozoa remodel the vacuolar compartments in which they reside, it is not obvious how their antigens enter the MHC class I and class II pathways. Studies using genetically engineered parasites have shown that host cell targeting, intracellular compartmentalization, subcellular localization of antigen within the parasite, and mechanism of invasion are important factors determining the presentation pathway utilized. The recent identification of endogenous parasite-derived CD8 T cell epitopes have helped confirm these concepts as well as provided new information on the processing pathways and the impact of parasite-stage specific antigen expression on the repertoire of responding T cells stimulated by infection. Elucidating the mechanisms governing antigen processing and presentation of intracellular protozoa may provide important insights needed for the rational design of effective vaccines.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2010 · Current opinion in immunology