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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2011 Oct 4;108(40):16741-6. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1107200108. Epub 2011 Sep 19.

E-cadherin promotes accumulation of a unique memory CD8 T-cell population in murine salivary glands.

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Department of Immunology, Institute of Medical Microbiology and Hygiene, University of Freiburg, 79104 Freiburg, Germany.


The salivary glands are important effector sites for IgA-mediated humoral immunity to protect oral surfaces. Within murine submandibular glands (SMG), we identified a memory CD8 T-cell population that exhibited a unique cell-surface phenotype distinct from memory CD8 T cells in spleen but similar to memory T cells resident in the intraepithelial lymphocyte compartment of the intestinal mucosa. In mice immune to lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV) or vesicular stomatitis virus(VSV), virus-specific memory CD8 T cells with this unusual phenotype were present in SMG at remarkably high frequencies. LCMV-specific memory CD8 T cells in SMG showed potent functional activities in vivo, including cytokine-induced bystander proliferation, antigen-triggered IFNγ production, and viral clearance. Adoptive transfer experiments further revealed that the capacity to accumulate in SMG decreased during CD8 T-cell differentiation and that SMG CD8 T cells were poorly replenished from the circulation, indicating that they were tissue-resident. Moreover, they preferentially relocalized within their tissue of origin after adoptive transfer and antigen rechallenge, thus revealing an imprinted differentiation status. Accumulation of memory CD8 T cells within SMG did not require local antigen presentation but was promoted by the epithelial differentiation molecule E-cadherin intrinsically expressed by these CD8 T cells. This finding extends the epithelial-restricted function of E-cadherin to an impact on lymphocyte accumulation within epithelial tissues.

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