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Immunity. 2004 Jan;20(1):5-16.

Plasticity of T cell memory responses to viruses.

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Department of Pathology, University of Massachusetts Medical School, 55 Lake Avenue North, Worcester, MA 01655, USA.


Virus-specific memory T cell populations demonstrate plasticity in antigenic and functional phenotype, in recognition of antigen, and in their ability to accommodate new memory T cell populations. The adaptability of complex antigen-specific T cell repertoires allows the host to respond to a diverse array of pathogens and accommodate memory pools to many pathogens in a finite immune system. This is in part accounted for by crossreactive memory T cells, which can be employed in immune responses and mediate protective immunity or life-threatening immunopathology.

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