Lymph node stromal cells acquire peptide-MHCII complexes from dendritic cells and induce antigen-specific CD4(+) T cell tolerance
Dendritic cells (DCs), and more recently lymph node stromal cells (LNSCs), have been described to tolerize self-reactive CD8(+) T cells in LNs. Although LNSCs express MHCII, it is unknown whether they can also impact CD4(+) T cell functions. We show that the promoter IV (pIV) of class II transactivator (CIITA), the master regulator of MHCII expression, controls endogenous MHCII expression by LNSCs. Unexpectedly, LNSCs also acquire peptide- MHCII complexes from DCs and induce CD4(+) T cell dysfunction by presenting transferred complexes to naive CD4(+) T cells and preventing their proliferation and survival. Our data reveals a novel, alternative mechanism where LN-resident stromal cells tolerize CD4(+) T cells through the presentation of self-antigens via transferred peptide-MHCII complexes of DC origin.