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Nat Immunol. 2011 Jun;12(6):485-91.

Regional and mucosal memory T cells.

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Center for Integrated Immunology and Vaccine Research, Department of Immunology, University of Connecticut Health Center, Farmington, Connecticut, USA.


After infection, most antigen-specific memory T cells reside in nonlymphoid tissues. Tissue-specific programming during priming leads to directed migration of T cells to the appropriate tissue, which promotes the development of tissue-resident memory in organs such as intestinal mucosa and skin. Mechanisms that regulate the retention of tissue-resident memory T cells include transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β)-mediated induction of the E-cadherin receptor CD103 and downregulation of the chemokine receptor CCR7. These pathways enhance protection in internal organs, such as the nervous system, and in the barrier tissues--the mucosa and skin. Memory T cells that reside at these surfaces provide a first line of defense against subsequent infection, and defining the factors that regulate their development is critical to understanding organ-based immunity.

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