Acute viral infections induce robust adaptive immune responses resulting in virus clearance. Recent evidence suggests that there may be depots of viral antigen that persist in draining lymph nodes (DLNs) after virus clearance and could, therefore, affect the adaptive immune response and memory T cell formation. The nature of these residual antigen depots, the mechanism of antigen persistence, and the impact of the persistent antigen on memory T cells remain ill defined. Using a mouse model of influenza virus infection of the respiratory tract, we identified respiratory dendritic cells (RDCs) as essential for both sampling and presenting residual viral antigen. RDCs in the previously infected lung capture residual viral antigen deposited in an irradiation-resistant cell type. RDCs then transport the viral antigen to the LNs draining the site of infection, where they present the antigen to T cells. Lastly, we document preferential localization of memory T cells to the DLNs after virus clearance as a consequence of presentation of residual viral antigen by the migrant RDC.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy