Primary induction of CD4 T cell responses in nasal associated lymphoid tissue during group A streptococcal infection

Hae Sun Park, Massimo Costalonga, R. Lee Reindhart, Priscilla E. Dombek, Marc K. Jenkins, P. Patrick Cleary

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


CD4 T cells are important for development of long-term immunity to bacterial infections. Here we describe construction of a group A streptococcus (GAS) strain that expresses the model ovalbumin epitope (OVA) on its surface, and the use of this strain in adoptive transfer experiments to study CD4 T cell response to bacterial infection in nasal-associated lymphoid tissue (NALT), which was previously shown W be a specific target for GAS colonization. The OVA+ GAS, but not the wild-type strain was shown to activate CD4 T cells in an antigen-specific manner both in vitro and in vivo. After intranasal infection of mice with this strain, OVA-specific CD4 T cells were first activated in NALT, which is functionally equivalent to human tonsils, rather than in the cervical lymph nodes. During localized infection, OVA+ GAS induced rapid and prolonged activation of CD4 T cells at higher magnitudes in the NALT than in draining lymph nodes and spleen, where CD4 T cells underwent little or no activation. In contrast, systemic infection induced significantly higher activation of CD4 T cells in both lymph nodes and spleens, compared to when the infection was localized in NALT. Further investigation of cellular immune responses in NALT during GAS infection using adoptive T cell transfer, combined with the model antigen on the pathogen may ultimately shed light on mechanisms for failure of children to develop protective immune responses following streptococcal tonsillitis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2843-2853
Number of pages11
JournalEuropean Journal of Immunology
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • CD4 T cells
  • GAS
  • NALT
  • Rodents

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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