Innate-like Gene Expression of Lung-Resident Memory CD8+ T Cells during Experimental Human Influenza: A Clinical Study.
Rationale: Suboptimal vaccine immunogenicity and antigenic mismatch, compounded by poor uptake, means that influenza remains a major global disease. T cells recognizing peptides derived from conserved viral proteins could enhance vaccine-induced cross-strain protection. Objectives: To investigate the kinetics, phenotypes, and function of influenza virus-specific CD8+ resident memory T (Trm) cells in the lower airway and infer the molecular pathways associated with their response to infection in vivo. Methods: Healthy volunteers, aged 18-55, were inoculated intranasally with influenza A/California/4/09(H1N1). Blood, upper airway, and (in a subgroup) lower airway samples were obtained throughout infection. Symptoms were assessed by using self-reported diaries, and the nasal viral load was assessed by using quantitative PCR. T-cell responses were analyzed by using a three-color FluoroSpot assay, flow cytometry with MHC I-peptide tetramers, and RNA sequencing, with candidate markers being confirmed by using the immunohistochemistry results for endobronchial biopsy specimens. Measurements and Main Results: After challenge, 57% of participants became infected. Preexisting influenza-specific CD8+ T cells in blood correlated strongly with a reduced viral load, which peaked at Day 3. Influenza-specific CD8+ T cells in BAL fluid were highly enriched and predominantly expressed the Trm markers CD69 and CD103. Comparison between preinfection CD8+ T cells in BAL fluid and blood by using RNA sequencing revealed 3,928 differentially expressed genes, including all major Trm-cell markers. However, gene set enrichment analysis of BAL-fluid CD8+ T cells showed primarily innate cell-related pathways and, during infection, included upregulation of innate chemokines (Cxcl1, Cxcl10, and Cxcl16) that were also expressed by CD8+ cells in bronchial tissues. Conclusions: CD8+ Trm cells in the human lung display innate-like gene and protein expression that demonstrates blurred divisions between innate and adaptive immunity. Clinical study registered with www.clinicaltrials.gov (NCT02755948).
Paterson, S; Kar, S; Ung, SK; Gardener, Z; Bergstrom, E; Ascough, S; Kalyan, M; Zyla, J; Maertzdorf, J; Mollenkopf, H-J; Weiner, J; Jozwik, A; Jarvis, H; Jha, A; Nicholson, BP; Veldman, T; Woods, CW; Mallia, P; Kon, OM; Kaufmann, SHE; Openshaw, PJ; Chiu, C
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