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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2006 Aug 8;103(32):12069-74. Epub 2006 Jul 31.

Monitoring the T cell response to genital tract infection.

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Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


To date, it has not been possible to study antigen-specific T cell responses during primary infection of the genital tract. The low frequency of pathogen-specific T cells in a naïve mouse makes it difficult to monitor the initial events after antigen encounter. We developed a system to examine the response of pathogen-specific T cells in the genital mucosa after intrauterine infection. We identified the protective CD4(+) T cell antigen Cta1 from Chlamydia trachomatis and generated T cell receptor (TCR) transgenic (tg) mice with specificity for this protein. By transferring TCR tg T cells into naïve animals, we determined that Chlamydia-specific T cells were activated and proliferated in the lymph nodes draining the genital tract after primary intrauterine infection. Activated T cells migrated into the genital mucosa and secreted IFN-gamma. The development of Chlamydia-specific TCR tg mice provides an approach for dissecting how pathogen-specific T cells function in the genital tract.

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