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J Immunol. 2010 Nov 1;185(9):5315-25. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.1001948. Epub 2010 Oct 4.

Differential localization of effector and memory CD8 T cell subsets in lymphoid organs during acute viral infection.

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  • 1Department of Immunobiology, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06520, USA.


It is unclear where within tissues subsets of effector and memory CD8 T cells persist during viral infection and whether their localization affects function and long-term survival. Following lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus infection, we found most killer cell lectin-like receptor G1 (KLRG1)(lo)IL-7R(hi) effector and memory cells, which are long-lived and high proliferative capacity, in the T cell zone of the spleen. In contrast, KLRG1(hi)IL-7R(lo) cells, which appear terminally differentiated and have shorter life spans, were exclusively localized to the red pulp. KLRG1(lo)IL-7R(hi) T cells homed to the T cell zone using pertussis toxin-sensitive chemokine receptors and appeared to contact gp38(+) stromal cells, which produce the chemokines CCL19 and CCL21 and the T cell survival cytokine IL-7. The transcription factors T-bet and B lymphocyte-induced maturation protein-1 controlled effector CD8 T cell splenic migration. Effector CD8 T cells overexpressing T-bet homed to the red pulp, whereas those lacking B lymphocyte-induced maturation protein-1 homed to the T cell zone. Upon memory formation, CD62L(+) memory T cells were predominantly found in the T cell zone, whereas CD62L(-) cells were found in the red pulp. Thus, effector and memory CD8 T cell subset localization within tissues is linked to their differentiation states, and this may identify anatomical niches that regulate their longevity and homeostasis.

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