GFP-specific CD8 T cells enable targeted cell depletion and visualization of T-cell interactions

Nat Biotechnol. 2015 Dec;33(12):1287-1292. doi: 10.1038/nbt.3386. Epub 2015 Nov 2.


There are numerous cell types with scarcely understood functions, whose interactions with the immune system are not well characterized. To facilitate their study, we generated a mouse bearing enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP)-specific CD8+ T cells. Transfer of the T cells into EGFP reporter animals can be used to kill EGFP-expressing cells, allowing selective depletion of desired cell types, or to interrogate T-cell interactions with specific populations. Using this system, we eliminate a rare EGFP-expressing cell type in the heart and demonstrate its role in cardiac function. We also show that naive T cells are recruited into the mouse brain by antigen-expressing microglia, providing evidence of an immune surveillance pathway in the central nervous system. The just EGFP death-inducing (Jedi) T cells enable visualization of a T-cell antigen. They also make it possible to utilize hundreds of existing EGFP-expressing mice, tumors, pathogens and other tools, to study T-cell interactions with many different cell types, to model disease states and to determine the functions of poorly characterized cell populations.