Understanding how immunological memory is formed is central to our ability to design efficacious vaccines against a variety of infectious diseases ad cancer. We have shown that quantitative and qualitative properties of immunologic memory are decided early after infection or immunization, and that the duration of antigen is a key determinant. We also identified novel cell surface markers that can successfully predict memory outcome during initial stages of T cell expansion. Moreover, using these cell surface markers to distinguish memory- fated cells, we found that the extent of effector differentiation correlates negatively with memory potential. Our studies involving genome-wide microarray comparisons of memory-fated and terminally differentiated effector cells intriguingly revealed that memory-fated effectors expressed higher levels of inhibitory receptor, programmed death-1 (PD-1) on their surface. This observation prompted us to hypothesize that PD-1 exerts brakes on memory-fated CD8 T cells to prevent overstimulation and promote memory differentiation. Because PD-1 is expressed widely on CD4 T cells, CD8 T cells, B cells, monocytes, dendritic cells, etc., we generated CD8 T cell-specific PD-1 knockout mice, to specifically address the role of PD-1 signaling in CD8 T cell memory responses. In a mixed chimera setting where wild-type (WT) and PD-1 knockout (KO) CD8 T cells were present in the same WT mouse, we found that PD-1 KO CD8 T cells expanded and differentiated into effector cells similar to WT CD8 T cells following an acute viral infection. However, there was a dramatic difference in their survival potential - PD-1 KO CD8 T cells underwent greater death after pathogen clearance and minimal memory reservoirs were generated from PD-1 KO CD8 T cells compared to WT CD8 T cells. The goal of this very focused R03 proposal is two-fold - Aim 1: To determine when PD-1 signals function to regulate memory cell survival. A combination of genome-wide transcriptome analyses and antibody blockade will be employed to determine the timing and source of PD-1 signals in regulating longevity of immune memory during acute infections.
Aim 2 : To determine how PD-1 signals promote longevity of memory cells. In this specific aim, inhibitory effects of PD-1 expression on T cell proliferation vis a vis cytokine signal transduction will be evaluated to understand whether inhibitory PD-1 signals exert "brakes" on T cell stimulation and proliferation to promote memory longevity. While the role of PD-1 in regulating immunopathology in chronic infections is well established, its function in acute infections is not known. When completed, these studies will represent a major step forward in our understanding of factors regulating longevity of immunologic memory, and will crack open the field of PD-1 signaling as a novel research area for vaccine design, which we hope to pursue under the auspice of a follow-up R01 proposal. PHS 398/2590 (Rev. 06/09) Page Continuation Format Page
Vaccination represents our most effective tool to curb the global health and economic downturn associated with infectious diseases such as AIDS, tuberculosis, HCV, malaria, etc. Although the role of PD-1 in chronic infections is well established, we know very little about when and how PD-1 signals regulate protective immunity in acute infections and vaccinations. The current proposal seeks to provide these mechanistic insights critical for generation and maintenance of protective immunity, and bear relevance in the context of ongoing efforts in PD1 blockade to treat cancer and chronic infections. PHS 398/2590 (Rev. 06/09) Page Continuation Format Page