CXCL10/CXCR3-Dependent Mobilization of Herpes Simplex Virus-Specific CD8+ TEM and CD8+ TRM Cells within Infected Tissues Allows Efficient Protection against Recurrent Herpesvirus Infection and Disease

J Virol. 2017 Jun 26;91(14):e00278-17. doi: 10.1128/JVI.00278-17. Print 2017 Jul 15.


Herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1) establishes latency within the sensory neurons of the trigeminal ganglia (TG). HSV-specific memory CD8+ T cells play a critical role in preventing HSV-1 reactivation from TG and subsequent virus shedding in tears that trigger recurrent corneal herpetic disease. The CXC chemokine ligand 10 (CXCL10)/CXC chemokine receptor 3 (CXCR3) chemokine pathway promotes T cell immunity to many viral pathogens, but its importance in CD8+ T cell immunity to recurrent herpes has been poorly elucidated. In this study, we determined how the CXCL10/CXCR3 pathway affects TG- and cornea-resident CD8+ T cell responses to recurrent ocular herpesvirus infection and disease using a well-established murine model in which HSV-1 reactivation was induced from latently infected TG by UV-B light. Following UV-B-induced HSV-1 reactivation, a significant increase in both the number and function of HSV-specific CXCR3+ CD8+ T cells was detected in TG and corneas of protected C57BL/6 (B6) mice, but not in TG and corneas of nonprotected CXCL10-/- or CXCR3-/- deficient mice. This increase was associated with a significant reduction in both virus shedding and recurrent corneal herpetic disease. Furthermore, delivery of exogenous CXCL10 chemokine in TG of CXCL10-/- mice, using the neurotropic adeno-associated virus type 8 (AAV8) vector, boosted the number and function of effector memory CD8+ T cells (TEM) and tissue-resident memory CD8+ T cells (TRM), but not of central memory CD8+ T cells (TCM), locally within TG, and improved protection against recurrent herpesvirus infection and disease in CXCL10-/- deficient mice. These findings demonstrate that the CXCL10/CXCR3 chemokine pathway is critical in shaping CD8+ T cell immunity, locally within latently infected tissues, which protects against recurrent herpesvirus infection and disease.IMPORTANCE We determined how the CXCL10/CXCR3 pathway affects CD8+ T cell responses to recurrent ocular herpesvirus infection and disease. Using a well-established murine model, in which HSV-1 reactivation in latently infected trigeminal ganglia was induced by UV-B light, we demonstrated that lack of either CXCL10 chemokine or its CXCR3 receptor compromised the mobilization of functional CD8+ TEM and CD8+ TRM cells within latently infected trigeminal ganglia following virus reactivation. This lack of T cell mobilization was associated with an increase in recurrent ocular herpesvirus infection and disease. Inversely, augmenting the amount of CXCL10 in trigeminal ganglia of latently infected CXCL10-deficient mice significantly restored the number of local antiviral CD8+ TEM and CD8+ TRM cells associated with protection against recurrent ocular herpes. Based on these findings, a novel "prime/pull" therapeutic ocular herpes vaccine strategy is proposed and discussed.

Keywords: CD8; CD8+ T cells; CXCL10; CXCR3; chemokine receptors; chemokines; herpes simplex virus; immunization; trigeminal ganglia.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Chemokine CXCL10 / deficiency
  • Chemokine CXCL10 / metabolism*
  • Cornea / immunology
  • Cornea / virology
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Herpes Simplex / immunology*
  • Herpes Simplex / prevention & control
  • Immunologic Memory*
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Receptors, CXCR3 / deficiency
  • Receptors, CXCR3 / metabolism*
  • Recurrence
  • Simplexvirus / immunology*
  • Trigeminal Ganglion / immunology
  • Trigeminal Ganglion / virology


  • Chemokine CXCL10
  • Cxcl10 protein, mouse
  • Cxcr3 protein, mouse
  • Receptors, CXCR3