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Open Access Research article

Chemokine gene expression in lung CD8 T cells correlates with protective immunity in mice immunized intra-nasally with Adenovirus-85A

Lian N Lee1*, Dilair Baban2, Edward O Ronan1, Jiannis Ragoussis2, Peter CL Beverley1 and Elma Z Tchilian1

Author affiliations

1 Nuffield Department of Medicine, University of Oxford, The Peter Medawar Building for Pathogen Research, South Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3SY, UK

2 The Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics, University of Oxford, Roosevelt Drive, Oxford OX3 7BN, UK

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Citation and License

BMC Medical Genomics 2010, 3:46  doi:10.1186/1755-8794-3-46

Published: 13 October 2010

Abstract

Background

Immunization of BALB/c mice with a recombinant adenovirus expressing Mycobacterium tuberculosis (M. tuberculosis) antigen 85A (Ad85A) protects against aerosol challenge with M. tuberculosis only when it is administered intra-nasally (i.n.). Immunization with Ad85A induces a lung-resident population of activated CD8 T cells that is antigen dependent, highly activated and mediates protection by early inhibition of M. tuberculosis growth. In order to determine why the i.n. route is so effective compared to parenteral immunization, we used microarray analysis to compare gene expression profiles of pulmonary and splenic CD8 T cells after i.n. or intra-dermal (i.d.) immunization.

Method

Total RNA from CD8 T cells was isolated from lungs or spleens of mice immunized with Ad85A by the i.n. or i.d. route. The gene profiles generated from each condition were compared. Statistically significant (p ≤ 0.05) differentially expressed genes were analyzed to determine if they mapped to particular molecular functions, biological processes or pathways using Gene Ontology and Panther DB mapping tools.

Results

CD8 T cells from lungs of i.n. immunized mice expressed a large number of chemokines chemotactic for resting and activated T cells as well as activation and survival genes. Lung lymphocytes from i.n. immunized mice also express the chemokine receptor gene Cxcr6, which is thought to aid long-term retention of antigen-responding T cells in the lungs. Expression of CXCR6 on CD8 T cells was confirmed by flow cytometry.

Conclusions

Our microarray analysis represents the first ex vivo study comparing gene expression profiles of CD8 T cells isolated from distinct sites after immunization with an adenoviral vector by different routes. It confirms earlier phenotypic data indicating that lung i.n. cells are more activated than lung i.d. CD8 T cells. The sustained expression of chemokines and activation genes enables CD8 T cells to remain in the lungs for extended periods after i.n. immunization. This may account for the early inhibition of M. tuberculosis growth observed in Ad85A i.n. immunized mice and explain the effectiveness of i.n. compared to parenteral immunization with this viral vector.