Journal of immunology (Baltimore, Md. : 1950)

Tim-3 is a Marker of Plasmacytoid Dendritic Cell Dysfunction during HIV Infection and Is Associated with the Recruitment of IRF7 and p85 into Lysosomes and with the Submembrane Displacement of TLR9.

PMID 28264968


In chronic diseases, such as HIV infection, plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDCs) are rendered dysfunctional, as measured by their decreased capacity to produce IFN-α. In this study, we identified elevated levels of T cell Ig and mucin-domain containing molecule-3 (Tim-3)-expressing pDCs in the blood of HIV-infected donors. The frequency of Tim-3-expressing pDCs correlated inversely with CD4 T cell counts and positively with HIV viral loads. A lower frequency of pDCs expressing Tim-3 produced IFN-α or TNF-α in response to the TLR7 agonists imiquimod and Sendai virus and to the TLR9 agonist CpG. Thus, Tim-3 may serve as a biomarker of pDC dysfunction in HIV infection. The source and function of Tim-3 was investigated on enriched pDC populations from donors not infected with HIV. Tim-3 induction was achieved in response to viral and artificial stimuli, as well as exogenous IFN-α, and was PI3K dependent. Potent pDC-activating stimuli, such as CpG, imiquimod, and Sendai virus, induced the most Tim-3 expression and subsequent dysfunction. Small interfering RNA knockdown of Tim-3 increased IFN-α secretion in response to activation. Intracellular Tim-3, as measured by confocal microscopy, was dispersed throughout the cytoplasm prior to activation. Postactivation, Tim-3 accumulated at the plasma membrane and associated with disrupted TLR9 at the submembrane. Tim-3-expressing pDCs had reduced IRF7 levels. Furthermore, intracellular Tim-3 colocalized with p85 and IRF7 within LAMP1