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Immunity. 2016 Aug 16;45(2):415-27. doi: 10.1016/j.immuni.2016.07.021.

T Cell Factor 1-Expressing Memory-like CD8(+) T Cells Sustain the Immune Response to Chronic Viral Infections.

Author information

1
Division of Immunology and Allergy, Department of Medicine, Lausanne University Hospital (CHUV), 1011 Lausanne, Switzerland.
2
Ludwig Center for Cancer Research, Department of Fundamental Oncology, University of Lausanne, 1066 Epalinges, Switzerland.
3
Lausanne Genomic Technologies Facility (LGTF), University of Lausanne, 1015 Lausanne, Switzerland.
4
Universitätsklinikum Freiburg, Klinik für Innere Medizin II, Gastroenterologie, Hepatologie, Endokrinologie und Infektiologie, University of Freiburg, 79106 Freiburg, Germany.
5
Universitätsklinikum Freiburg, Klinik für Innere Medizin II, Gastroenterologie, Hepatologie, Endokrinologie und Infektiologie, University of Freiburg, 79106 Freiburg, Germany; Spemann Graduate School of Biology and Medicine (SGBM), University of Freiburg, 79106 Freiburg, Germany; Faculty of Biology, University of Freiburg, 79106 Freiburg, Germany.
6
Division of Immunology and Allergy, Department of Medicine, Lausanne University Hospital (CHUV), 1011 Lausanne, Switzerland. Electronic address: dietmar.zehn@tum.de.
7
Ludwig Center for Cancer Research, Department of Fundamental Oncology, University of Lausanne, 1066 Epalinges, Switzerland. Electronic address: werner.held@unil.ch.

Abstract

Chronic infections promote the terminal differentiation (or "exhaustion") of T cells and are thought to preclude the formation of memory T cells. In contrast, we discovered a small subpopulation of virus-specific CD8(+) T cells that sustained the T cell response during chronic infections. These cells were defined by, and depended on, the expression of the transcription factor Tcf1. Transcriptome analysis revealed that this population shared key characteristics of central memory cells but lacked an effector signature. Unlike conventional memory cells, Tcf1-expressing T cells displayed hallmarks of an "exhausted" phenotype, including the expression of inhibitory receptors such as PD-1 and Lag-3. This population was crucial for the T cell expansion that occurred in response to inhibitory receptor blockade during chronic infection. These findings identify a memory-like T cell population that sustains T cell responses and is a prime target for therapeutic interventions to improve the immune response in chronic infections.

KEYWORDS:

LCMV; PD-1; T cell exhaustion; T cell memory; Tcf1; chronic infection; differentiation of cytotoxic T cells

PMID:
27533016
DOI:
10.1016/j.immuni.2016.07.021
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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