Blood-stage plasmodium berghei infection generates a potent, specific CD8+ T-cell response despite residence largely in cells lacking MHC i processing machinery

Lei Shong Lau, Daniel Fernandez-Ruiz, Gayle M. Davey, Tania F de Koning-Ward, Anthony T. Papenfuss, Francis R. Carbone, Andrew G Brooks, Brendan S. Crabb, William R Heath

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Murine cerebral malaria is a complex disease caused by Plasmodium berghei ANKA infection. Several cell types, including CD8+ T cells, are essential effectors of disease. Although the use of transgenic parasites expressing model antigens has revealed the induction of cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL) specific for these model antigens, there is no direct evidence for a response to authentic blood-stage parasite antigens, nor any knowledge of its magnitude. Our studies show that there is a dramatic primary parasite-specific CTL response, akin to viral immunity, reaching approximately 30% of splenic CD8+ T cells, with many producing interferon-γ and tumor necrosis factor-α. These cells express granzyme B and other markers of specific responders, are cytolytic, and respond to a broad array of major histocompatibility complex (MHC) I-restricted epitopes, 5 of which are identified here. Our studies indicate that vigorous CTL responses can be induced to pathogens even when they largely reside in red blood cells, which lack MHC I processing machinery.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1989-1996
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Infectious Diseases
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 15 Dec 2011

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