T cell antigen-presenting cell (APC) interactions early during chronic viral infection are crucial for determining viral set point and disease outcome, but how and when different APC subtypes contribute to these outcomes is unclear. The TNF receptor superfamily (TNFRSF) member GITR is important for CD4+ T cell accumulation and control of chronic lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV). We found that type I interferon (IFN-I) induced TNFSF ligands GITRL, 4-1BBL, OX40L, and CD70 predominantly on monocyte-derived APCs and CD80 and CD86 predominantly on classical dendritic cells (cDCs). Mice with hypofunctional GITRL in Lyz2+ cells had decreased LCMV-specific CD4+ T cell accumulation and increased viral load. GITR signals in CD4+ T cells occurred after priming to upregulate OX40, CD25, and chemokine receptor CX3CR1. Thus IFN-I (signal 3) induced a post-priming checkpoint (signal 4) for CD4+ T cell accumulation, revealing a division of labor between cDCs and monocyte-derived APCs in regulating T cell expansion.
Autoimmune diseases such as systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) are associated with increased cardiovascular disease and reduced plasma high-density lipoprotein (HDL) levels. HDL mediates cholesterol efflux from immune cells via the ATP binding cassette transporters A1 and G1 (ABCA1/G1). The significance of impaired cholesterol efflux pathways in autoimmunity is unknown. We observed that Abca1/g1-deficient mice develop enlarged lymph nodes (LNs) and glomerulonephritis suggestive of SLE. This lupus-like phenotype was recapitulated in mice with knockouts of Abca1/g1 in dendritic cells (DCs), but not in macrophages or T cells. DC-Abca1/g1 deficiency increased LN and splenic CD11b+ DCs, which displayed cholesterol accumulation and inflammasome activation, increased cell surface levels of the granulocyte macrophage-colony stimulating factor receptor, and enhanced inflammatory cytokine secretion. Consequently, DC-Abca1/g1 deficiency enhanced T cell activation and Th1 and Th17 cell polarization. Nlrp3 inflammasome deficiency diminished the enlarged LNs and enhanced Th1 cell polarization. These findings identify an essential role of DC cholesterol efflux pathways in maintaining immune tolerance.