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Nat Immunol. 2013 Dec;14(12):1294-301. doi: 10.1038/ni.2744. Epub 2013 Oct 27.

The developmental pathway for CD103(+)CD8+ tissue-resident memory T cells of skin.

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1] Department of Microbiology and Immunology, The University of Melbourne, Parkville, Australia. [2].


Tissue-resident memory T cells (T(RM) cells) provide superior protection against infection in extralymphoid tissues. Here we found that CD103(+)CD8(+) T(RM) cells developed in the skin from epithelium-infiltrating precursor cells that lacked expression of the effector-cell marker KLRG1. A combination of entry into the epithelium plus local signaling by interleukin 15 (IL-15) and transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) was required for the formation of these long-lived memory cells. Notably, differentiation into T(RM) cells resulted in the progressive acquisition of a unique transcriptional profile that differed from that of circulating memory cells and other types of T cells that permanently reside in skin epithelium. We provide a comprehensive molecular framework for the local differentiation of a distinct peripheral population of memory cells that forms a first-line immunological defense system in barrier tissues.

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