In contrast to thymic epithelial cells, which induce the positive selection of conventional CD8+ T cells, hematopoietic cells (HCs) select innate CD8+ T cells whose Ag specificity is not fully understood. Here we show that CD8+ T cells expressing an H-Y Ag-specific Tg TCR were able to develop in mice in which only HCs expressed MHC class I, when HCs also expressed the H-Y Ag. These HC-selected self-specific CD8+ T cells resemble innate CD8+ T cells in WT mice in terms of the expression of memory markers and effector functions, but are phenotypically distinct from the thymus-independent CD8+ T-cell population. The peripheral maintenance of H-Y-specific CD8+ T cells required presentation of the self-Ag and IL-15 on HCs. HC-selected CD8+ T cells in mice lacking the Tg TCR also showed these features. Furthermore, by using MHC class I tetramers with a male Ag peptide, we found that self-Ag-specific CD8+ T cells in TCR non-Tg mice could develop via HC-induced positive selection, supporting results obtained from H-Y TCR Tg mice. These findings indicate the presence of self-specific CD8+ T cells that are positively selected by HCs in the peripheral T-cell repertoire.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Immunology and Allergy