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Science. 1997 Jun 27;276(5321):2057-62.

Differential requirements for survival and proliferation of CD8 naïve or memory T cells.

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INSERM U345, Institut Necker, 156 Rue Vaugirard, 75015 Paris, France.


The requisite molecular interactions for CD8 T cell memory were determined by comparison of monoclonal naïve and memory CD8(+) T cells bearing the T cell receptor (TCR) for the HY antigen. Naïve T cells required only the right major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I-restricting molecule to survive; to expand, they also needed antigen. In contrast, for survival, memory cells did not require the restricting MHC allele, but needed only a nonspecific class I; for expansion the correct class I, but not antigen, was required. Thus, maintenance of CD8 T cell memory still required TCR-MHC class I interactions, but memory T cells may have a lower functional activation threshold that facilitates secondary responses.

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