CD4+-T-Cell Responses Generated during Murine Salmonella enterica Serovar Typhimurium Infection Are Directed towards Multiple Epitopes within the Natural Antigen FliC Academic Article uri icon


  • The flagellar filament protein FliC is a natural antigen recognized by memory CD4+ T cells recovered from Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium-infected humans and mice. To further investigate T-cell responses to FliC, we derived FliC-specific CD4+-T-cell clones from mice of two different haplotypes following oral S. enterica serovar Typhimurium infection. Using C-terminal truncations of MalE-FliC recombinant fusion proteins, we mapped antigenic activity to four different regions of FliC; three of the four epitope-containing regions were present in both FliC and the alternate flagellin subunit FljB. We determined that two novel FliC epitopes were also present in flagellins from several gram-negative enteric bacterial species: E(k)-restricted FliC 80-94 (amino acids 80 to 94) and A(b)-restricted FliC 455-469. Further mapping confirmed the presence of two previously identified FliC epitopes: A(k)-restricted FliC 339-350 and A(b)-restricted FliC 428-442. Therefore, like the recognition site of the innate immune receptor Toll-like receptor 5, three of four FliC epitopes recognized by CD4+ T cells colocalize in the D0/D1 domains of FliC. Salmonella-infected macrophages and dendritic cells stimulated epitope-specific CD4+-T-cell proliferation; infected dendritic cells also activated T cells to produce gamma interferon. These data demonstrate that Salmonella infection generates murine CD4+-T-cell responses to multiple epitopes in the natural antigen FliC and that recognition of infected phagocytes by FliC-specific CD4+ T cells triggers effector functions known to be essential for protective immunity. Together, these data suggest that FliC-specific CD4+ T cells may contribute to cell-mediated host defenses against Salmonella.

author list (cited authors)

  • Bergman, M. A., Cummings, L. A., Alaniz, R. C., Mayeda, L., Fellnerova, I., & Cookson, B. T.

citation count

  • 48

publication date

  • November 2005