Investigating Antigen Presentation by Inactivated Lymphocytic Choriomeningitis Virus and by Baculovirus Encoding the LCMV-Nucleoprotein
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Professional antigen presenting cells (pAPCs) process and present antigens on their cell surface in association with MHC class I molecules through two general pathways: direct or cross-presentation. The process of antigen presentation by pAPCs to naïve T cells resulting in their proliferation and differentiation into activated cytotoxic lymphocytes (CTLs) is called T cell priming. In these studies, we examine the cross-presentation of antigens from two non-replicating viruses: inactivated Lymphocytic Choriomeningitis virus (LCMV), and recombinant baculovirus encoding the LCMV nucleoprotein (NP). Since effective activation of pAPCs is essential for efficient priming of CD8+ T cells and CTL activation, and because infection with inactivated viruses generally induces an extremely poor level of CTL activation, we examined the activation state of pAPCs by measuring their cytokine profiles following infection to help further delineate their involvement in the CTL response to inactivated viruses. Our results indicate a pro-inflammatory cytokine mRNA upregulation in pAPCs in response to the inactivated virus, similar to the cytokine profiles subsequent to live LCMV infection, but to a lesser extent. In these studies, we also examined CTL activation following infection with inactivated LCMV and bAc-NP. We have demonstrated that the presentation of antigens from inactivated LCMV and bAC-NP results in a low level of CTL activation in vivo, though there is an undetectable level of CTL activation in vitro, in comparison to activation following infection with the live virus. Ultimately, the characterization of the cytokine profiles of pAPCs and the CD8+ T cell profiles induced in response to inactivated LCMV or the baculovirus derived NP may lead to a better understanding of how cross-presentation of these viral antigens may occur. This information may be applied to enhance the process of pAPC activation and T cell priming, for the induction of more effective cellular immune responses and the generation of stronger protective immunity.