The role of different DC subsets in priming and maintenance of immunity against Leishmania major (L. major) infection is debated. The transcription factor basic leucine zipper transcription factor, ATF-like 3 (Batf3) is essential for the development of mouse CD103(+) DCs and some functions of CD8α(+) DCs. We found that CD103(+) DCs were significantly reduced in the dermis of Batf3-deficient C57BL/6 mice. Batf3(-/-) mice developed exacerbated and unresolved cutaneous pathology following a low dose of intradermal L. major infection in the ear pinnae. Parasite load was increased 1000-fold locally and expanded systemically. Batf3 deficiency did not affect L. major antigen presentation to T cells, which was directly exerted by CD8α(-) conventional DCs (cDCs) in the skin draining LN. However, CD4(+) T-cell differentiation in the LN and skin was skewed to nonprotective Treg- and Th2-cell subtypes. CD103(+) DCs are major IL-12 producers during L. major infection. Local Th1 immunity was severely hindered, correlating with impaired IL-12 production and reduction in CD103(+) DC numbers. Adoptive transfer of WT but not IL-12p40(-/-) Batf3-dependent DCs significantly improved anti-L. major response in infected Batf3(-/-) mice. Our results suggest that IL-12 production by Batf3-dependent CD103(+) DCs is crucial for maintenance of local Th1 immunity against L. major infection.
Keywords: Adaptive immune response ⋅ Batf3 ⋅ Dendritic cells ⋅ IL-12 ⋅ Leishmania major.
© 2014 The Authors. European Journal of Immunology published by WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.