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Immunity. 2009 Aug 21;31(2):283-95. doi: 10.1016/j.immuni.2009.06.021. Epub 2009 Aug 6.

Blimp-1 transcription factor is required for the differentiation of effector CD8(+) T cells and memory responses.

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The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, 1G Royal Parade, Parkville, Victoria 3050, Australia.


In response to viral infection, naive CD8(+) T cells proliferate and differentiate into cytotoxic and cytokine-producing effector cells. Here we showed that the transcription factor Blimp-1, a crucial regulator of plasma cell differentiation, was required for CD8(+) T cells to differentiate into functional killer T cells in response to influenza virus. Blimp-1 was not essential for the generation of memory T cells but was crucial for their efficient recall response upon reinfection. Antigen-specific Blimp-1-deficient CD8(+) T cells failed to appropriately regulate the transcriptional program essential for killer T cell responses and showed impaired migration to the site of infection. This study identifies Blimp-1 as a master regulator of the terminal differentiation of CD8(+) effector T cells and uncovers a conservation of the pathways that regulate the terminal differentiation of T and B cells.

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