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Preformed CD40L is stored in Th1, Th2, Th17, and T follicular helper cells as well as CD4+ 8- thymocytes and invariant NKT cells but not in Treg cells.

Koguchi, Y;Buenafe, AC;Thauland, TJ;Gardell, JL;Bivins-Smith, ER;Jacoby, DB;Slifka, MK;Parker, DC;

CD40L is essential for the development of adaptive immune responses. It is generally thought that CD40L expression in CD4(+) T cells is regulated transcriptionally and made from new mRNA following antigen recognition. However, imaging studies show that the majority of cognate interactions between effector CD4(+) T cells and APCs in vivo are too short to allow de novo CD40L synthesis. We previously showed that Th1 effector and memory cells store preformed CD40L (pCD40L) in lysosomal compartments and mobilize it onto the plasma membrane immediately after antigenic stimulation, suggesting that primed CD4(+) T cells may use pCD40L to activate APCs during brief encounters. Indeed, our recent study showed that pCD40L is sufficient to mediate selective activation of cognate B cells and trigger DC activation in vitro. In this study, we show that pCD40L is present in Th1 and follicular helper T cells developed during infection with lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus, Th2 cells in the airway of asthmatic mice, and Th17 cells from the CNS of animals with experimental autoimmune encephalitis (EAE). pCD40L is nearly absent in both natural and induced Treg cells, even in the presence of intense inflammation such as occurs in EAE. We also found pCD40L expression in CD4 single positive thymocytes and invariant NKT cells. Together, these results suggest that pCD40L may function in T cell development as well as an unexpectedly broad spectrum of innate and adaptive immune responses, while its expression in Treg cells is repressed to avoid compromising their suppressive activity.