CD8αα-Mediated Survival and Differentiation of CD8 Memory T Cell Precursors

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Science  23 Apr 2004:
Vol. 304, Issue 5670, pp. 590-593
DOI: 10.1126/science.1092316

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Memory T cells are long-lived antigen-experienced T cells that are generally accepted to be direct descendants of proliferating primary effector cells. However, the factors that permit selective survival of these T cells are not well established. We show that homodimeric α chains of the CD8 molecule (CD8αα) are transiently induced on a selected subset of CD8αβ+ T cells upon antigenic stimulation. These CD8αα molecules promote the survival and differentiation of activated lymphocytes into memory CD8 T cells. Thus, memory precursors can be identified among primary effector cells and are selected for survival and differentiation by CD8αα.

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