Immunization with attenuated Plasmodium sporozoites or viral vectored vaccines can induce protective CD8+ T cells that can find and eliminate liver-stage malaria parasites. A key question is whether CD8+ T cells must recognize and eliminate each parasite in the liver or whether bystander killing can occur. To test this, we transferred antigen-specific effector CD8+ T cells to mice that were then coinfected with two Plasmodium berghei strains, only one of which could be recognized directly by the transferred T cells. We found that the noncognate parasites developed normally in these mice, demonstrating that bystander killing of parasites does not occur during the CD8+ T cell response to malaria parasites. Rather, elimination of infected parasites is likely mediated by direct recognition of infected hepatocytes by antigen-specific CD8+ T cells.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Infectious Diseases