PD-1 controls tonic signaling and lymphopenia-induced proliferation of T lymphocytes

Citations of this article
Mendeley users who have this article in their library.


Recovery of the T lymphocyte compartment within a lymphopenic host by lymphopenia-induced proliferation (LIP) is regulated by inter- and intraclonal competition for limited resources, including homeostatic cytokines and peptide:MHC (pMHC) complexes with which the TCR can interact at least weakly to yield a tonic signal. Importantly, the process of LIP can synergize with other factors that promote T cell activation to drive inflammatory disease. While reconstitution of the lymphoid compartment of immune deficient Rag-/- mice by transfer of wild-type hematopoietic stem cells (HSC) does not generally result in an overt disease phenotype, transfer of HSC deficient in expression of the co-inhibitory molecule PD-1 results in severe systemic autoimmunity driven by newly generated T cells that emerge from the thymus into the periphery and undergo LIP. Importantly, autoimmunity does not appear to depend on a response to exogenous (i.e., gut flora-derived) antigens. PD-1 is well known to be upregulated during T cell activation in response to cognate antigens, but it is unclear whether PD-1 has a role in controlling LIP of T cells in the absence of cognate antigen, i.e., in response to tonic pMHC. We examined whether PD-1 controls LIP of newly generated T cells by controlling the response to tonic pMHC or the homeostatic cytokine IL-7. We found that PD-1-deficient T cells have a proliferative advantage over WT T cells during LIP and this effect is MHC-II dependent and independent of IL-7Rα signaling. Furthermore, our data suggest that signals through IL-7Rα can be dispensable for LIP and may instead be of increased importance for T cell survival in conditions of high competition for limited pMHC (e.g., post-LIP, in a lymphoreplete host). We hypothesize that autoimmunity post-PD-1-/- HSC transplant is the result of an overzealous T cell response to normally tonic self-pMHC precipitated by the synergy of LIP and PD-1 deficiency. Furthermore, potentiation of TCR signals in response to normally tonic self-pMHC may contribute to the success of PD-1 blockade in cancer immunotherapy.




Ellestad, K. K., Lin, J., Boon, L., & Anderson, C. C. (2017). PD-1 controls tonic signaling and lymphopenia-induced proliferation of T lymphocytes. Frontiers in Immunology, 8(OCT). https://doi.org/10.3389/fimmu.2017.01289

Register to see more suggestions

Mendeley helps you to discover research relevant for your work.

Already have an account?

Save time finding and organizing research with Mendeley

Sign up for free