Immunology

T Cells Stay FIT During Flu

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Science  08 Feb 2013:
Vol. 339, Issue 6120, pp. 628
DOI: 10.1126/science.339.6120.628-c
CREDIT: L. WAKIM ET AL., NATURE IMMUNOLOGY 14 (27 JANUARY 2013) © 2013 NATURE PUBLISHING GROUP

Immunological memory is critical for keeping us from getting sick from many pathogens for a second time. For example, infection with chicken pox usually confers lifelong immunity. Tissue-resident memory CD8+ T cells are a key population that is responsible for this protection. By being poised at sites of pathogen entry, such as the lung, they can quickly kill virus-infected cells. But what protects these cells from virus-induced cell death so that they can carry out their duties? Wakim et al. revealed that during influenza infection in mice, the antiviral protein IFITM3 affords such protection to lung, CD8+ memory T cells. IFITM3 is expressed specifically by resident CD8+ memory T cells in the lung, and cells deficient in IFITM3 did not survive well in response to secondary infection with influenza as compared to controls. Moreover, mice whose lung-resident CD8+ memory T cells were deficient in IFITM3 were more susceptible to infection with influenza. These results suggest that the selective expression of an antiviral factor in memory T cells allows the host to protect itself against subsequent viral infection.

Nat. Immunol. 14, 10.1038/ni.2525 (2013).

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