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Immunol Res. 2009;45(1):46-61. doi: 10.1007/s12026-008-8027-z.

Intrinsic and extrinsic control of effector T cell survival and memory T cell development.

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Department of Immunobiology, Yale University School of Medicine, 300 Cedar St., TACS641B, P.O. Box 208011, New Haven, CT 06520, USA.


Following infection or vaccination T cells expand exponentially and differentiate into effector T cells in order to control infection and coordinate the multiple effector arms of the immune system. Soon after this expansion, the majority of antigen-specific T cells die to reattain homeostasis and a small pool of memory T cells forms to provide long-term immunity to subsequent re-infection. Our understanding of how this process is controlled has improved considerably over the recent years, but many questions remain outstanding. This review focuses on the recent advancements in this area with an emphasis on how the contraction of activated T cells is coordinately regulated by a combination of factors extrinsic and intrinsic to the activated T cells.

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