The role of CD4+ T cells in viral infections
To better understand the role of CD4 T cells in viral infection, we have identified an I-Ab-restricted epitope located within glycoprotein D of HSV-1 and then generated the gDT-II TCR transgenic mouse line to investigate the in vivo response to this epitope. Our early studies comparing the requirements for stimulating HSV-1 specific CD4 and CD8 T cell responses, showed that CD103+ dendritic cells had the capacity to stimulate naïve CD4 and CD8 T cells and implicated this migratory dendritic cell subset in crosspresentation (Nature Immunol 10:488-95). More recently collaborative studies with Thomas Gebhardt and Frank Carbone have shown that following infection with HSV-1, CD4 and CD8 T cells partition to different areas of the skin and have markedly different migratory properties which impacts their capacity to provide protection from re-infection (Nature 477:216-19). Our current work focuses on assessing the signals required for the generation of robust anti-viral CD4+ T cell responses and in particular the mechanisms that confer tissue-specific homing capacity and effector function in non-lymphoid tissues to CD4+ T cells.
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