Differential Requirements for Survival and Proliferation of CD8 Naïve or Memory T Cells

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Science  27 Jun 1997:
Vol. 276, Issue 5321, pp. 2057-2062
DOI: 10.1126/science.276.5321.2057

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The requisite molecular interactions for CD8 T cell memory were determined by comparison of monoclonal naı̈ve and memory CD8+ T cells bearing the T cell receptor (TCR) for the HY antigen. Naı̈ve 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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