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Antigen and G-Protein Coupled Receptor signaling differentially control CD8 T cell motility immediately before and after virus clearance in a primary infection

Lambert-Emo, K;Reilly, EC;Sportiello, M;Topham, DJ;

In mice, experimental influenza virus infection stimulates CD8 T cell infiltration of the airways. Virus is cleared by day 9, and between days 8 and 9 there is an abrupt change in CD8 T cell motility behavior transitioning from low velocity and high confinement on day 8, to high velocity with continued confinement on day 9. We hypothesized that it is loss of virus and/or antigen signals in the context of high chemokine levels that drives the T cells into a rapid surveillance mode. Virus infection induces chemokine production, which may change when the virus is cleared. We therefore sought to examine this period of rapid changes to the T cell environment in the tissue and seek evidence on the roles of peptide-MHC and chemokine receptor interactions. Experiments were performed to block G protein coupled receptor (GPCR) signaling with Pertussis toxin (Ptx). Ptx treatment generally reduced cell velocities and mildly increased confinement, except on day 8 when velocity increased and confinement was relieved, suggesting chemokine mediated arrest. Blocking specific peptide-MHC with monoclonal antibody unexpectedly decreased velocities on days 7 through 9, suggesting TCR/peptide-MHC interactions promote cell mobility in the tissue. Together, these results suggest the T cells are engaged with antigen bearing and chemokine producing cells that affect motility in ways that vary with the day after infection. The increase in velocities on day 9 were reversed by addition of specific peptide, consistent with the idea that antigen signals become limiting on day 9 compared to earlier time points. Thus, antigen and chemokine signals act to alternately promote and restrict CD8 T cell motility until the point of virus clearance, suggesting the switch in motility behavior on day 9 may be due to a combination of limiting antigen in the presence of high chemokine signals as the virus is cleared.