B Cell Presentation of Chlamydia Antigen Selects Out Protective CD4γ13 T Cells: Implications for Genital Tract Tissue-Resident Memory Lymphocyte Clusters

Infect Immun. 2018 Jan 22;86(2):e00614-17. doi: 10.1128/IAI.00614-17. Print 2018 Feb.


Surveillance and defense of the enormous mucosal interface with the nonsterile world are critical to protecting the host from a wide range of pathogens. Chlamydia trachomatis is an intracellular bacterial pathogen that replicates almost exclusively in the epithelium of the reproductive tract. The fallopian tubes and vagina are poorly suited to surveillance and defense, with limited immune infrastructure positioned near the epithelium. However, a dynamic process during clearing primary infections leaves behind new lymphoid clusters immediately beneath the epithelium. These memory lymphocyte clusters (MLCs) harboring tissue-resident memory (Trm) T cells are presumed to play an important role in protection from subsequent infections. Histologically, human Chlamydia MLCs have prominent B cell populations. We investigated the status of genital tract B cells during C. muridarum infections and the nature of T cells recovered from immune mice using immune B cells as antigen-presenting cells (APCs). These studies revealed a genital tract plasma B cell population and a novel genital tract CD4 T cell subset producing both gamma interferon (IFN-γ) and interleukin-13 (IL-13). A panel of CD4 T cell clones and microarray analysis showed that the molecular fingerprint of CD4γ13 T cells includes a Trm-like transcriptome. Adoptive transfer of a Chlamydia-specific CD4γ13 T cell clone completely prevented oviduct immunopathology without accelerating bacterial clearance. Existence of a CD4γ13 T cell subset provides a plausible explanation for the observation that human peripheral blood mononuclear cell (PBMC) Chlamydia-specific IFN-γ and IL-13 responses predict resistance to reinfection.

Keywords: B cells; CD4; Chlamydia; IL-13; Trm.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigen Presentation*
  • B-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Chlamydia Infections / immunology*
  • Chlamydia Infections / microbiology
  • Chlamydia muridarum / immunology*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Genitalia, Female / immunology*
  • Immunologic Memory*
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Reproductive Tract Infections / immunology
  • Reproductive Tract Infections / microbiology
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets / immunology*