The leukocyte-specific tyrosine phosphatase, CD45, severely impacts T cell development and activation by modulating TCR signaling. CD45-deficient (CD45KO) mice have reduced peripheral T cell numbers where CD8 T cells are underrepresented. In this article, we show that CD45KO mice are unable to support efficient homeostatic proliferation, affecting CD8 T cells more than CD4 T cells. Using CD45-RAG1 double-deficient (45RAGKO) mice, we show that lymphopenia-induced proliferation (LIP) of CD45-sufficient T cells is defective in a host environment lacking CD45 on innate immune cells. We identify two deficiencies in the 45RAGKO mice that affect LIP. One involves CD11c+ cells and the second the production of IL-7 by lymphoid stromal cells. CD45KO dendritic cells were not defective in foreign Ag–induced T cell proliferation, yet CD45KO CD11c+ cells were unable to rescue the spontaneous LIP in the 45RAGKO mice. This was in contrast with the CD45-sufficient CD11c+ cells that partially rescued this spontaneous proliferation and did so without affecting IL-7 levels. The absence of CD45 also led to reduced IL-7 production by lymphoid stromal cells, suggesting an indirect effect of CD45 on innate immune cells in influencing IL-7 production by lymphoid stromal cells. These findings demonstrate a novel role for CD45 on innate immune cells in promoting lymphopenia-induced T cell proliferation and suggest that innate immune cells may communicate with stromal cells to regulate IL-7 production.
This work was supported by Grant 77712 and a fellowship (to A.E.S.) from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research Training Program in Transplantation.
- Received October 4, 2013.
- Accepted July 15, 2014.
- Copyright © 2014 by The American Association of Immunologists, Inc.