Antiviral immune responses of mice lacking MHC class II or its associated invariant chain.
Battegay M., Bachmann MF., Burhkart C., Viville S., Benoist C., Mathis D., Hengartner H., Zinkernagel RM.
Induction of T-helper cells and T-B cell interaction have been considered to critically depend upon recognition of major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class II molecules by the T cell receptor. Mice lacking either MHC class II molecules (class II(0/0) mice) or its associated invariant chain (Ii0/0 mice) provide new opportunities to test this premise. Immune responses to some protein antigens have been studied in these mice; little is known about their ability to withstand viral infections. We therefore tested CD8+ effector T cells and CD4+ T-cell-dependent B cell function during different viral infections. The vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV)-specific primary cytotoxic T cell response which is largely T-helper-dependent was diminished in Ii(0/0) and absent in class II(0/0) mice. The usually less T-helper-dependent cytotoxic vaccinia or lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV)-specific CD8+ T cell responses were reduced up to ninefold in class II(0/0) and up to threefold in Ii(0/0) mice. In class II(0/0) mice, the T-helper-independent neutralizing IgM response against the glycoprotein of VSV was within normal ranges but, in contrast to previous results on CD4(0/0) mice, the T-helper-dependent IgG response was absent. Ii(0/0) mice exhibited a normal neutralizing IgM response; in contrast to class II(0/0) mice, they mounted a significant, though reduced specific IgG response. Similar results were obtained for antibody responses against the nucleoprotein of VSV. Although the T-helper-cell response upon infection with VSV seemed diminished only a little in Ii(0/0) mice, presentation of VSV-G to a class II-restricted specific hybridoma was greater than 300-fold reduced in the absence of Ii. This suggests that local protein concentrations reached during viral infection in the host are high enough to override the Ii deficiency of antigen-presenting cells in vivo.