Different T Cell Receptor Signals Determine CD8+ Memory Versus Effector Development

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Science  23 Jan 2009:
Vol. 323, Issue 5913, pp. 502-505
DOI: 10.1126/science.1163612

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Following infection, naïve CD8+ T cells bearing pathogen-specific T cell receptors (TCRs) differentiate into a mixed population of short-lived effector and long-lived memory T cells to mediate an adaptive immune response. How the TCR regulates memory T cell development has remained elusive. Using a mutant TCR transgenic model, we found that point mutations in the TCR β transmembrane domain (βTMD) impair the development and function of CD8+ memory T cells without affecting primary effector T cell responses. Mutant T cells are deficient in polarizing the TCR and in organizing the nuclear factor κB signal at the immunological synapse. Thus, effector and memory states of CD8+ T cells are separable fates, determined by differential TCR signaling.

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