CD8 T cell responses to lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus in early growth response gene 1-deficient mice

Anju Singh, John Svaren, Jason Grayson, M Suresh
Journal of Immunology 2004 September 15, 173 (6): 3855-62
Previous in vitro work has implicated a role for transcriptional factor early growth response gene 1 (EGR1) in regulating immune responses. However, the in vivo role of EGR1 in orchestrating T cell responses has not been studied. To investigate the importance of EGR1 in T cell immunity, we compared Ag-specific CD8 T cell responses between wild type (+/+) and EGR1-deficient (EGR1-/-) mice following an acute infection with lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV). These studies revealed that the expansion of LCMV-specific CD8 T cells was substantially reduced in EGR1-/- mice, as compared with +/+ mice. The reduced numbers of LCMV-specific CD8 T cells in EGR1-/- mice were not due to an intrinsic T cell defect per se because purified EGR1-deficient T cells exhibited normal proliferative response to anti-CD3 stimulation in vitro, and underwent normal activation and expansion in response to LCMV upon adoptive transfer into T cell-deficient mice. Furthermore, adoptive transfer of CD8 T cells bearing a transgenic TCR into EGR1-/- mice showed that EGR1 deficiency in non-CD8 T cells impaired CD8 T cell expansion in vivo following an LCMV infection. Further investigations on accessory cells showed that bone marrow-derived dendritic cells from EGR1-/- mice did not exhibit detectable impairment to prime Ag-specific CD8 T cell responses in vivo. However, in LCMV-infected mice, EGR1 deficiency selectively impaired the maturation of CD8alpha(+ve) plasmacytoid dendritic cells. Taken together, our findings suggest that EGR1 might promote expansion of CD8 T cells during an acute viral infection by modulating the cues in the lymphoid microenvironment.

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