Attenuated T Cell Responses to a High-Potency Ligand In Vivo

Corse, Emily; Gottschalk, Rachel A.; Krogsgaard, Michelle; Allison, James P.
September 2010
PLoS Biology;Sep2010, Vol. 8 Issue 9, p1
Academic Journal
αβ T cell receptor (TCR) recognition of foreign peptides bound to major histocompatibility complex (pMHC) molecules on the surface of antigen presenting cells is a key event in the initiation of adaptive cellular immunity. In vitro, high-affinity binding and/or long-lived interactions between TCRs and pMHC correlate with high-potency T cell activation. However, less is known about the influence of TCR/pMHC interaction parameters on T cell responses in vivo. We studied the influence of TCR/pMHC binding characteristics on in vivo T cell immunity by tracking CD4+ T cell activation, effector, and memory responses to immunization with peptides exhibiting a range of TCR/pMHC half-lives and in vitro T cell activation potencies. Contrary to predictions from in vitro studies, we found that optimal in vivo T cell responses occur to ligands with intermediate TCR/pMHC half-lives. The diminished in vivo responses we observed to the ligand exhibiting the longest TCR/pMHC half-life were associated with attenuation of intracellular signaling, expansion, and function over a broad range of time points. Our results reveal a level of control over T cell activation in vivo not recapitulated in in vitro assays and highlight the importance of considering in vivo efficacy of TCR ligands as part of vaccine design.


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