Cognate antigen signal controls CD8+ T cell priming, expansion size and effector versus memory cell fates, but it is not known if and how it modulates the functional features of memory CD8+ T cells. Here we show that the strength of T cell receptor (TCR) signaling controls the requirement for interleukin-2 (IL-2) signals to form a pool of memory CD8+ T cells that competitively re-expand upon secondary antigen encounter. Combining strong TCR and intact IL-2 signaling during priming synergistically induces genome-wide chromatin accessibility in regions targeting a wide breadth of biological processes, consistent with greater T cell functional fitness. Chromatin accessibility in promoters of genes encoding for stem cell, cell cycle and calcium-related proteins correlates with faster intracellular calcium accumulation, initiation of cell cycle and more robust expansion. High-dimensional flow-cytometry analysis of these T cells also highlights higher diversity of T cell subsets and phenotypes with T cells primed with stronger TCR and IL-2 stimulation than those primed with weaker strengths of TCR and/or IL-2 signals. These results formally show that epitope selection in vaccine design impacts memory CD8+ T cell epigenetic programming and function.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Physics and Astronomy(all)