Logo for University of Iowa Health Care This logo represents the University of Iowa Health Care

Recent Publication

Monocyte-Derived CD11c+ Cells Acquire Plasmodium from Hepatocytes to Prime CD8 T Cell Immunity to Liver-Stage Malaria


Plasmodium sporozoites inoculated by mosquitoes migrate to the liver and infect hepatocytes prior to release of merozoites that initiate symptomatic blood-stage malaria. Plasmodium parasites are thought to be restricted to hepatocytes throughout this obligate liver stage of development, and how liver-stage-expressed antigens prime productive CD8 T cell responses remains unknown. We found that a subset of liver-infiltrating monocyte-derived CD11c+ cells co-expressing F4/80, CD103, CD207, and CSF1R acquired parasites during the liver stage of malaria, but only after initial hepatocyte infection. These CD11c+ cells found in the infected liver and liver-draining lymph nodes exhibited transcriptionally and phenotypically enhanced antigen-presentation functions and primed protective CD8 T cell responses against Plasmodium liver-stage-restricted antigens. Our findings highlight a previously unrecognized aspect of Plasmodium biology and uncover the fundamental mechanism by which CD8 T cell responses are primed against liver-stage malaria antigens.

  • Kurup SP, Anthony SM, Hancox LS, Vijay R, Pewe LL, Moioffer SJ, Sompallae R, Janse CJ, Khan SM, Harty JT.