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Science. 1999 Mar 12;283(5408):1745-8.

Linear differentiation of cytotoxic effectors into memory T lymphocytes.

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  • 1Committee on Immunology, Department of Pathology, Committee on Developmental Biology, The University of Chicago, Gwen Knapp Center for Lupus and Immunology Research, Chicago, IL 60637, USA.


A central question in immunology is the origin of long-lived T cell memory that confers protection against recurrent infection. The differentiation of naïve T cell receptor transgenic CD8+ cells into effector cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) and memory CD8+ cells was studied. Memory CD8+ cells that were generated after strong antigenic stimulation were the progeny of cytotoxic effectors and retained antigen-specific cytolytic activity 10 weeks after adoptive transfer to antigen-free recipient mice. Thus, potential vaccines based on CTL memory will require the differentiation of naïve cells into post-effector memory T cells.

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