One wonders what actually determines the “helper dependence” of an immunogenic virus, and whether the experimentally observed differences might be related to intrinsic features of the various pathogens or perhaps the dose at which they are offered as immunogens?
After all, immature DC have been shown to acquire CD8+ CTL priming capacity by both T-helper-independent or -dependent stimuli 8. It seems not unreasonable to suppose that T help is required under limiting doses AP24534 cost of danger signals (TLR ligands, NOD ligands and type I IFN), in which case CD40L signaling by CD4+ helper cells and resulting cognate events are required for appropriate DC activation followed by CD8 (re)activation. One intriguing aspect of the Baker et al.1 study is their finding that CD8+ T cells lacking the IL-21 receptor have a significant induction of TRAIL expression in a manner similar to “helpless” CD8+ T cells primed in the absence of CD4+ T cells 2. The most
likely source of the IL-21 in this scenario is the CD4+ T cell, although NKT cells have not been excluded. This leads to the idea that one previously unanticipated role of T help is to control secondary expansion via regulation of TRAIL expression in CD8+ T cells. This raises a number of interesting questions regarding the time and place of cytokine signals in the provision PD0332991 research buy of T help. For instance, when is IL-21 signaling important for CD8+ T cells? How might this fit with the finding of Bevan’s group that CD8+ T cells must Tryptophan synthase receive IL-2 signals during the first 6 days of priming in order to become capable of secondary expansion 9? Must CD4+ T cells produce both IL-2 and IL-21
or might these two γ chain cytokines serve a redundant function? If both are required, might they be produced simultaneously or sequentially? How does the requirement for these cytokines correspond with the apparently conditional need for cognate interactions among CD4+ T cells, DC and CD8+ T cells? CD8+ T-cell effector and memory responses need to be tightly controlled for several reasons, including rapid induction of robust killer cell function when needed, rapid recall in case of dangerous reinfections and avoidance of massive auto-destruction by runaway auto-reactive CTL. Control of CD8+ T cells is mediated by a variety of intricate cognate interactions between CD4+ helper cells, DC and CD8+ cell precursors. These interactions determine the quality of the DC activation and subsequent CD8+ CTL precursor activation. Crucial events are CD40 ligand (CD154) upregulation on CD4+ helper cells, followed by DC activation through CD40 ligand triggering of CD40 on DC 10, 11.