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Salivary gland macrophages assist tissue-resident CD8+ T cell immune surveillance

Stolp, B;Thelen, F;Ficht, X;Altenburger, L;Ruef, N;

Tissue macrophages and tissue resident memory CD8+ T cells (TRM) play important roles for pathogen sensing and rapid protection of barrier tissues. To date, it is incompletely understood how these two cell types cooperate for efficient organ surveillance during homeostasis. Here, we used intravital imaging to show that TRM dynamically crawled along tissue macrophages in murine submandibular salivary glands (SMG) during the memory phase following a viral infection. Ex vivo confined SMG TRM integrated an unexpectedly wide range of migration modes: in addition to chemokine-and adhesion receptor-driven motility, SMG TRM displayed a remarkable capacity of autonomous motility in the absence of chemoattractants and adhesive ligands. This unique intrinsic SMG TRM motility was transmitted by friction and adaptation to microenvironmental topography through protrusion insertion into permissive gaps. Analysis of extracellular space in SMG using super-resolution shadow imaging showed discontinuous attachment of tissue macrophages to neighboring epithelial cells, offering paths of least resistance for patrolling TRM. Upon tissue macrophage depletion, intraepithelial SMG TRM showed decreased motility and reduced epithelial crossing events, and failed to cluster in response to local inflammatory chemokine stimuli. In sum, our data uncover a continuum of SMG TRM migration modes and identify a new accessory function of tissue macrophages to facilitate TRM patrolling of the complex exocrine gland architecture.