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Science. 1999 Nov 12;286(5443):1377-81.

Persistence of memory CD8 T cells in MHC class I-deficient mice.

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  • 1Emory Vaccine Center and Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Emory University, Atlanta, GA 30322, USA.


An understanding of how T cell memory is maintained is crucial for the rational design of vaccines. Memory T cells were shown to persist indefinitely in major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I-deficient mice and retained the ability to make rapid cytokine responses upon reencounter with antigen. In addition, memory CD8 T cells, unlike naïve cells, divided without MHC-T cell receptor interactions. This "homeostatic" proliferation is likely to be important in maintaining memory T cell numbers in the periphery. Thus, after naïve CD8 T cells differentiate into memory cells, they evolve an MHC class I-independent "life-style" and do not require further stimulation with specific or cross-reactive antigen for their maintenance.

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