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The Effects of Dendritic Cell Hypersensitivity on Persistent Viral Infection.

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Caspase-8 (CASP8) is known as an executioner of apoptosis, but more recent studies have shown that it participates in the regulation of necroptosis and innate immunity. In this study, we show that CASP8 negatively regulates retinoic acid-inducible gene I (RIG-I) signaling such that, in its absence, stimulation of the RIG-I pathway in dendritic cells (DCs) produced modestly enhanced activation of IFN regulatory factor 3 with correspondingly greater amounts of proinflammatory cytokines. In addition, mice lacking DC-specific CASP8 (dcCasp8-/- mice) develop age-dependent symptoms of autoimmune disease characterized by hyperactive DCs and T cells, spleen and liver immunopathology, and the appearance of Th1-polarized CD4+ T cells. Such mice infected with chronic lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus, an RNA virus detected by RIG-I, mounted an enhanced lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus-specific immune response as measured by increased proportions of Ag-specific CD4+ T cells and multicytokine-producing CD4+ and CD8+ T cells. These results show that CASP8 subtly modulates DC maturation, which controls the spontaneous appearance of autoimmune T cells while simultaneously attenuating the acquired immune system and its potential to control a persistent viral infection.

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