Shutdown of an acute T cell immune response to viral infection is mediated by the proapoptotic Bcl-2 homology 3-only protein Bim
Pellegrini, M; Belz, G; Bouillet, P; Strasser, A
PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
We used mutant Fas-deficient (lpr) or Bim-deficient mice to investigate the role of the death receptor and Bcl-2-regulated apoptotic pathways in terminating a physiological T cell response to herpes simplex virus infection. In WT and lpr mice CD8(+) antigen-specific T cells were deleted after viral clearance. In contrast, the immune response was not terminated in Bim-deficient mice despite viral clearance, and CD8(+) antigen-specific T cells accumulated in the spleen. Thus, Bim is dispensable for viral clearance but is necessary for the death of activated T cells when immune responses are terminated. These findings have implications for the therapeutic manipulation of immune responses to infections and immunization.