IL-12 and type-I IFN were shown to support programming of memory CD8+ T cells in response to Selleckchem Vadimezan L. monocytogenes and VV infection 10. Moreover, it was recently shown that prolonged IL-2 signaling on CD8+ T cells during the priming with LCMV promotes SLEC differentiation 15, 16. Thus, depending on the nature of the infection, the associated cytokine milieu critically regulates effector and memory CD8+ T-cell development. Although there are several in vivo studies focusing on the role of IL-12 in this fate decision process 3–5, a direct role of type-I IFN in the instruction of SLEC versus MPEC differentiation has so far not been studied in vivo. Here, we have
addressed the requirement of type-I IFN signaling on the early fate decision of CD8+ T cells in a type-I IFN biased cytokine milieu as found in LCMV
infection. We provide evidence that direct type-I IFN signaling in CD8+ T cells augments the level of the transcription factor T-bet and thereby instructs the transition of CD8+ T cells toward an SLEC phenotype. CD8+ T cells lacking the type-I IFN receptor fail to form SLECs but instead preferentially give rise to MPECs. Although the primary expansion of these cells is strongly reduced, they have the capacity to develop into functional PDGFR inhibitor memory cells. In summary, the data presented here demonstrate that during infections associated with abundant levels of type-I IFN, the early lineage choice toward the differentiation of SLECs is mediated by direct type-I IFN signaling on CD8+ T cells, identifying type-I IFN as an old important factor instructing the early division between the effector and memory CD8+ T-cell pool. To investigate the role of direct type-I IFN signaling on the SLEC versus MPEC fate decision of CD8+ T cells, we used an established LCMV8.7 and vaccinia virus expressing the LCMV glycoprotein (VVG2) co-infection model 17 combined with adoptive transfer of LCMV gp33-specific
TCR-transgenic CD8+ T cells (P14) which are either sufficient or deficient for type-I IFN signaling (hereafter: WT P14 and interferon-alpha receptor (IFNAR)−/− P14 respectively). Using this system we were able to generate a type-I IFN-dominated inflammatory environment induced by LCMV8.7 infection in face of antigen presentation exclusively derived from a recombinant VVG2, as P14 cells only recognize their cognate epitope expressed by VVG2 but do not recognize the mutant gp33 (V35L) epitope expressed by LCMV8.7. We chose this co-infection system as it avoids the LCMV-inherent abundant antigen presentation and hence puts more emphasis on the role of the cytokine milieu in CD8+ T-cell priming and differentiation. Consistent with previous findings upon single infection with WT LCMV 17–19, WT and IFNAR−/− P14 cells underwent substantial expansion during the first three days after LCMV8.7 and VVG2 co-infection.