Friend retrovirus infection induces the development of memory-like natural killer cells

Elisabeth Littwitz-Salomon, Thanh Nguyen, Simone Schimmer, Ulf Dittmer
2018 Retrovirology  
Traditionally, NK cells belong to the innate immune system and eliminate virus-infected cells through their germlineencoded receptors. However, NK cells were recently reported to possess memory-like functions that were predominantly provided by hepatic NK cells. Memory properties were mainly documented in contact hypersensitivity models or during cytomegalovirus infections. However, the precise role and the physiologic importance of memory-like NK cells during retroviral infections are still
more » ... er investigation. Here, we show that Friend retrovirus (FV) infection of mice induced a population of phenotypically memory-like NK cells at 28 days post infection. Upon secondary antigen encounter, these NK cells showed an increased production of the pro-inflammatory cytokines IFNγ and TNFα as well as the death ligand FasL in comparison to naïve NK cells. Furthermore, we found an augmented elimination of antigen-matched but not antigen-mismatched target cells by these memory-like NK cells. In adoptive cell transfer experiments, equal antiviral activities of splenic and hepatic memory-like NK cells during the late phase of acute FV infection were found. Our results strongly imply the existence and antiviral activity of spleen and liver memory-like NK cells in FV infection, which efficiently respond upon secondary exposure to retroviral antigens.
doi:10.1186/s12977-018-0450-1 fatcat:4cjgbylt4fgjzoua55gqknjide