DOCK8 is essential for T-cell survival and the maintenance of CD8+ T-cell memory.
Lambe T., Crawford G., Johnson AL., Crockford TL., Bouriez-Jones T., Smyth AM., Pham TH., Zhang Q., Freeman AF., Cyster JG., Su HC., Cornall RJ.
Deficiency in the guanine nucleotide exchange factor dedicator of cytokinesis 8 (DOCK8) causes a human immunodeficiency syndrome associated with recurrent sinopulmonary and viral infections. We have recently identified a DOCK8-deficient mouse strain, carrying an ethylnitrosourea-induced splice-site mutation that shows a failure to mature a humoral immune response due to the loss of germinal centre B cells. In this study, we turned to T-cell immunity to investigate further the human immunodeficiency syndrome and its association with decreased peripheral CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cells. Characterisation of the DOCK8-deficient mouse revealed T-cell lymphopenia, with increased T-cell turnover and decreased survival. Egress of mature CD4(+) thymocytes was reduced with increased migration of these cells to the chemokine CXCL12. However, despite the two-fold reduction in peripheral naïve T cells, the DOCK8-deficient mice generated a normal primary CD8(+) immune response and were able to survive acute influenza virus infection. The limiting effect of DOCK8 was in the normal survival of CD8(+) memory T cells after infection. These findings help to explain why DOCK8-deficient patients are susceptible to recurrent infections and provide new insights into how T-cell memory is sustained.