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Circulating HLA-DR+CD4+ effector memory T cells resistant to CCR5 and PD-L1 mediated suppression compromise regulatory T cell function in tuberculosis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Asma Ahmed, Vasista Adiga, Soumya Nayak, J. Anto Jesuraj Uday Kumar, Chirag Dhar, Pravat Nalini Sahoo, Bharath K. Sundararaj, George D. Souza, Annapurna Vyakarnam, David M. Lewinsohn (Editor)

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere1007289
JournalPLoS Pathogens
Issue number9
Early online date19 Sep 2018
Publication statusPublished - 19 Sep 2018

King's Authors


Chronic T cell activation is a hallmark of pulmonary tuberculosis (PTB). The mechanisms underpinning this important phenomenon are however, poorly elucidated, though known to rely on control of T effector cells (Teff) by regulatory T cells (Treg). Our studies show that circulating natural Treg cells in adults with PTB preserve their suppressive potential but Teff cells from such subjects are resistant to Treg-mediated suppression. We found this to be due to expansion of an activated Teff subset identified by Human Leukocyte Antigen (HLA)-DR expression. Sensitivity to suppression was restored to control levels by depletion of this subset. Comparative transcriptome analysis of Teff cells that contain HLA-DR+ cells versus the fraction depleted of this population identified putative resistance mechanisms linked to IFNG, IL17A, IL22, PD-L1 and β-chemokines CCL3L3, CCL4 expression. Antibody blocking experiments confirmed HLA-DR+ Teff cells, but not the fraction depleted of HLA-DR+ effectors, to be resistant to Treg suppression mediated via CCR5 and PD-L1 associated pathways. In the presence of HLA-DR+ Teff cells, activation of NFκB downstream of CCR5 and PD-L1 was perturbed. In addition, HLA-DR+ Teff cells expressed significantly higher levels of Th1/Th17 cytokines that may regulate Treg function through a reciprocal counter-balancing relationship. Taken together, our study provides novel insight on how activated HLA-DR+CD4+ T cells may contribute to disease associated inflammation by compromising Treg-mediated suppression in PTB.

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