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Expert Rev Vaccines. 2009 Mar;8(3):299-312. doi: 10.1586/14760584.8.3.299.

Cellular and molecular mechanisms of memory T-cell survival.

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Laboratoire d'Immunologie, Centre de Recherche du Centre Hospitalier de l'Université de Montréal (CR-CHUM) Saint-Luc, 264 Rene Levesque Est, Montréal, Québec H2X 1P1, Canada.


Long-term maintenance of the memory T-cell response is the hallmark of immune protection and, hence, constitutes one of the most important objectives of vaccine-development strategies. Persistent memory T cells, developed after vaccination or microbial infections, ensure the generation of an antimicrobial response upon re-exposure to the pathogen through rapid clonal proliferation and activation of effector functions. However, in the context of many pathogen infections, these memory T cells fail to persist and die. In this review, we will highlight recent exciting findings in studies of memory T cells, their generation, their lineage relationships and their survival pathways; indeed, survival of memory T cells and maintenance of their functionality are key features of the immune response in its quest to control disease progression and in the development of vaccines to persistent microbial infections.

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