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Inducible Costimulator Protein Controls The Protective T Cell Response Against Listeria Monocytogenes1
Published 2002 · Biology, Medicine
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The inducible costimulator protein (ICOS) was recently identified as a costimulatory molecule for T cells. Here we analyze the role of ICOS for the acquired immune response of mice against the intracellular bacterium Listeria monocytogenes. During oral L. monocytogenes infection, low levels of ICOS expression were detected by extracellular and intracellular Ab staining of Listeria-specific CD4+ and CD8+ T cells. Blocking of ICOS signaling with a soluble ICOS-Ig fusion protein markedly impaired the Listeria-specific T cell responses. Compared with control mice, the ICOS-Ig treated mice generated significantly reduced numbers of Listeria-specific CD8+ T cells in spleen and liver, as determined by tetramer and intracellular cytokine staining. In contrast, the specific CD8+ T cell response in the intestinal mucosa did not appear to be impaired by the ICOS-Ig treatment. Analysis of the CD4+ T cell response revealed that ICOS-Ig treatment also affected the specific CD4+ T cell response. When restimulated with listerial Ag in vitro, reduced numbers of CD4+ T cells from infected and ICOS-Ig-treated mice responded with IFN-γ production. The impaired acquired immune response in ICOS-Ig treated mice was accompanied by their increased susceptibility to L. monocytogenes infection. ICOS-Ig treatment drastically enhanced bacterial titers, and a large fraction of mice succumbed to the otherwise sublethal dose of infection. Thus, ICOS costimulation is crucial for protective immunity against the intracellular bacterium L. monocytogenes.