The PD-1 pathway regulates dysfunctional T cells in chronic infection and cancer, but the role of this pathway during acute infection remains less clear. Here, we demonstrate that PD-1 signals are needed for optimal memory. Mice deficient in the PD-1 pathway exhibit impaired CD8+ T cell memory following acute influenza infection, including reduced virus-specific CD8+ T cell numbers and compromised recall responses. PD-1 blockade during priming leads to similar differences early post-infection but without the defect in memory formation, suggesting that timing and/or duration of PD-1 blockade could be tailored to modulate host responses. Our studies reveal a role for PD-1 as an integrator of CD8+ T cell signals that promotes CD8+ T cell memory formation and suggest PD-1 continues to fine-tune CD8+ T cells after they migrate into nonlymphoid tissues. These findings have important implications for PD-1-based immunotherapy, in which PD-1 inhibition may influence memory responses in patients.
What We Do
The Sharpe laboratory investigates T cell costimulatory pathways and their immunoregulatory functions. We focus on the roles of these pathways in regulating pathogenic and protective immune responses needed for the induction and maintenance of T cell tolerance and the prevention of autoimmunity, as well as effective antimicrobial and antitumor immunity.
We are also involved in studies aimed at translating the fundamental understanding of T cell costimulation into new therapies for autoimmune diseases, chronic viral infections, and cancer. Manipulation of T cell costimulatory pathways is of great therapeutic interest as it may provide a means to enhance immune responses to promote anti-microbial and tumor immunity, or to terminate immune responses to control autoimmune diseases and achieve tolerance for organ transplantation.