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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2006 Dec 5;103(49):18703-8. Epub 2006 Nov 20.

A critical role for TNF receptor-associated factor 1 and Bim down-regulation in CD8 memory T cell survival.

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  • 1Department of Immunology, University of Toronto, 1 King's College Circle, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5S 1A8.


The mechanisms that allow the maintenance of immunological memory remain incompletely defined. Here we report that tumor necrosis factor receptor (TNFR)-associated factor (TRAF) 1, a protein recruited in response to several costimulatory TNFR family members, is required for maximal CD8 T cell responses to influenza virus in mice. Decreased recovery of CD8 T cells in vivo occurred under conditions where cell division was unimpaired. In vitro, TRAF1-deficient, antigen-activated T cells accumulated higher levels of the proapoptotic BH3-only family member Bim, particularly the most toxic isoform, Bim(S). In the presence of excess IL-15, memory phenotype T cells with similar surface phenotype and comparable levels of Bcl-2 family members could be generated from WT or TRAF1-deficient T cell receptor transgenic OT-I T cells. However, when the memory CD8 T cells were allowed to compete for survival signals in the absence of antigen in vivo, the TRAF1-deficient T cells showed decreased recovery compared with TRAF1-sufficient T cells. This defect in T cell recovery in vivo was alleviated by introduction of siRNA to down-modulate Bim in TRAF1-deficient memory T cells. These studies identify the TRAF1 signaling axis and Bim down-regulation as critical for CD8 memory T cell survival in vivo.

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