PLoS pathogens

CCR2+ Inflammatory Dendritic Cells and Translocation of Antigen by Type III Secretion Are Required for the Exceptionally Large CD8+ T Cell Response to the Protective YopE69-77 Epitope during Yersinia Infection.

PMID 26468944


During Yersinia pseudotuberculosis infection of C57BL/6 mice, an exceptionally large CD8+ T cell response to a protective epitope in the type III secretion system effector YopE is produced. At the peak of the response, up to 50% of splenic CD8+ T cells recognize the epitope YopE69-77. The features of the interaction between pathogen and host that result in this large CD8+ T cell response are unknown. Here, we used Y. pseudotuberculosis strains defective for production, secretion and/or translocation of YopE to infect wild-type or mutant mice deficient in specific dendritic cells (DCs). Bacterial colonization of organs and translocation of YopE into spleen cells was measured, and flow cytometry and tetramer staining were used to characterize the cellular immune response. We show that the splenic YopE69-77-specific CD8+ T cells generated during the large response are polyclonal and are produced by a "translocation-dependent" pathway that requires injection of YopE into host cell cytosol. Additionally, a smaller YopE69-77-specific CD8+ T cell response (~10% of the large expansion) can be generated in a "translocation-independent" pathway in which CD8α+ DCs cross present secreted YopE. CCR2-expressing inflammatory DCs were required for the large YopE69-77-specific CD8+ T cell expansion because this response was significantly reduced in Ccr2-/- mice, YopE was translocated into inflammatory DCs in vivo, inflammatory DCs purified from infected spleens activated YopE69-77-specific CD8+ T cells ex vivo and promoted the expansion of YopE69-77-specific CD8+ T cells in infected Ccr2-/- mice after adoptive transfer. A requirement for inflammatory DCs in producing a protective CD8+ T cell response to a bacterial antigen has not previously been demonstrated. Therefore, the production of YopE69-77-specific CD8+ T cells by inflammatory DCs that are injected with YopE during Y. pseudotuberculosis infection represents a novel mechanism for generating a massive and protective adaptive immune response.