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Infect Immun. 2012 Feb;80(2):787-97. doi: 10.1128/IAI.05326-11. Epub 2011 Nov 28.

Limited model antigen expression by transgenic fungi induces disparate fates during differentiation of adoptively transferred T cell receptor transgenic CD4+ T cells: robust activation and proliferation with weak effector function during recall.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, University of Wisconsin Medical School, University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics, Madison, Wisconsin, USA.


CD4(+) T cells are the key players of vaccine resistance to fungi. The generation of effective T cell-based vaccines requires an understanding of how to induce and maintain CD4(+) T cells and memory. The kinetics of fungal antigen (Ag)-specific CD4(+) T cell memory development has not been studied due to the lack of any known protective epitopes and clonally restricted T cell subsets with complementary T cell receptors (TCRs). Here, we investigated the expansion and function of CD4(+) T cell memory after vaccination with transgenic (Tg) Blastomyces dermatitidis yeasts that display a model Ag, Eα-mCherry (Eα-mCh). We report that Tg yeast led to Eα display on Ag-presenting cells and induced robust activation, proliferation, and expansion of adoptively transferred TEa cells in an Ag-specific manner. Despite robust priming by Eα-mCh yeast, antifungal TEa cells recruited and produced cytokines weakly during a recall response to the lung. The addition of exogenous Eα-red fluorescent protein (RFP) to the Eα-mCh yeast boosted the number of cytokine-producing TEa cells that migrated to the lung. Thus, model epitope expression on yeast enables the interrogation of Ag presentation to CD4(+) T cells and primes Ag-specific T cell activation, proliferation, and expansion. However, the limited availability of model Ag expressed by Tg fungi during T cell priming blunts the downstream generation of effector and memory T cells.

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