Recruitment of Antigen-Specific CD8+ T Cells in Response to Infection Is Markedly Efficient

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Science  04 Sep 2009:
Vol. 325, Issue 5945, pp. 1265-1269
DOI: 10.1126/science.1175455

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The magnitude of antigen-specific CD8+ T cell responses is not fixed but correlates with the severity of infection. Although by definition T cell response size is the product of both the capacity to recruit naïve T cells (clonal selection) and their subsequent proliferation (clonal expansion), it remains undefined how these two factors regulate antigen-specific T cell responses. We determined the relative contribution of recruitment and expansion by labeling naïve T cells with unique genetic tags and transferring them into mice. Under disparate infection conditions with different pathogens and doses, recruitment of antigen-specific T cells was near constant and close to complete. Thus, naïve T cell recruitment is highly efficient, and the magnitude of antigen-specific CD8+ T cell responses is primarily controlled by clonal expansion.

  • * Present address: La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology, La Jolla, CA 92037, USA.

  • Present address: Institute for Regeneration Medicine, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, CA 94143, USA.

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