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Eur J Immunol. 2001 May;31(5):1523-30.

Expression of the DX5 antigen on CD8+ T cells is associated with activation and subsequent cell death or memory during influenza virus infection.

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Microbiology and Tumor Biology Center, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.


The antigen recognized by the DX5 antibody (DX5 antigen) is expressed on all murine NK cells. In the present study we found that a proportion of CD8+ T cells (approximately 5%) also express the DX5 antigen in uninfected mice, and that numbers of CD8+ T cells expressing DX5 are significantly higher in the lungs of influenza virus-infected mice representing up to 50% of all CD8+ T cells on day 10 post infection. The expression of the DX5 antigen on CD8+ T cells was associated with a memory phenotype in uninfected C57BL/6 mice and with an activation phenotype during influenza virus infection. Interestingly, when lymphocytes were isolated from lungs of influenza virus-infected mice on day 10 post infection and adoptively transferred into recombination activating gene-1 (RAG1)-deficient mice, CD8+DX5+ cells could not be recovered from the recipient mice 2 days later. Moreover, CD8+DX5+ cells were not detected when lung cells were removed from day 10 influenza virus-infected mice and cultured in vitro for 2 days. However, CD8+DX5+ cells could be detected when apoptosis inhibitors were added to these cultures, suggesting that the CD8+DX5+ cells underwent apoptosis during cell culture. Furthermore, almost all DX5 expressing CD8+ cells from lungs of mice on day 10 post influenza virus infection stained positively with Annexin-V. Taken together, the data suggest that CD8+ T cells expressing DX5 are associated with an activation/memory phenotype and are biased towards apoptosis.

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