Natural killer cells expanded in vivo or ex vivo with IL-15 overcomes the inherent susceptibility of CAST mice to lethal infection with orthopoxviruses

Autoři: Patricia L. Earl aff001;  Jeffrey L. Americo aff001;  Bernard Moss aff001
Působiště autorů: Laboratory of Viral Diseases, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, United States of America aff001
Vyšlo v časopise: Natural killer cells expanded in vivo or ex vivo with IL-15 overcomes the inherent susceptibility of CAST mice to lethal infection with orthopoxviruses. PLoS Pathog 16(4): e32767. doi:10.1371/journal.ppat.1008505
Kategorie: Research Article
doi: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1008505


The wild-derived inbred CAST/EiJ mouse, one of eight founder strains in the Collaborative Cross panel, is an exceptional model for studying monkeypox virus (MPXV), an emerging human pathogen, and other orthopoxviruses including vaccinia virus (VACV). Previous studies suggested that the extreme susceptibility of the CAST mouse to orthopoxviruses is due to an insufficient innate immune response. Here, we focused on the low number of natural killer (NK) cells in the naïve CAST mouse as a contributing factor to this condition. Administration of IL-15 to CAST mice transiently increased NK and CD8+ T cells that could express IFN-γ, indicating that the progenitor cells were capable of responding to cytokines. However, the number of NK cells rapidly declined indicating a defect in their homeostasis. Furthermore, IL-15-treated mice were protected from an otherwise lethal challenge with VACV or MPXV. IL-15 decreased virus spread and delayed death even when CD4+/CD8+ T cells were depleted with antibody, supporting an early protective role of the expanded NK cells. Purified splenic NK cells from CAST mice proliferated in vitro in response to IL-15 and could be activated with IL-12/IL-18 to secrete interferon-γ. Passive transfer of non-activated or activated CAST NK cells reduced VACV spread but only the latter completely prevented death at the virus dose used. Moreover, antibodies to interferon-γ abrogated the protection by activated NK cells. Thus, the inherent susceptibility of CAST mice to orthopoxviruses can be explained by a low level of NK cells and this vulnerability can be overcome either by expanding their NK cells in vivo with IL-15 or by passive transfer of purified NK cells that were expanded and activated in vitro.

Klíčová slova:

Cell staining – Inbred strains – Luminescence – Mouse models – NK cells – Photons – Spleen – T cells


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