Methods: We utilize a combination of in vitro DC/T-cell co-culture assays and a novel lipid bilayer system mimicking the T cell surface to delineate the role of DC-expressed γc during DC/T-cell interaction.
Results: We observed that γc in DC was recruited to the contact interface following MHCII ligation, and promoted IL-15Rα colocalization with engaged MHCII. Unexpectedly, trans-presentation of IL-15 was required for optimal CD4+T cell activation by DC and depended on DC γc expression. Neither recruitment of IL-15Rα nor IL-15 trans-signaling at the DC immune synapse (IS), required γc signaling in DC, suggesting that γc facilitates IL-15 transpresentation through induced intermolecular cis associations or cytoskeletal reorganization following MHCII ligation.
Conclusions: These findings show that DC-expressed γc is required for effective antigen-induced CD4+ T cell activation. We reveal a novel mechanism for recruitment of DC IL-15/IL-15Rα complexes to the IS, leading to CD4+ T cell costimulation through localized IL-15 transpresentation that is coordinated with antigen-recognition.