Tickling Memory T Cells

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Science  28 Jun 1996:
Vol. 272, Issue 5270, pp. 1904
DOI: 10.1126/science.272.5270.1904


Viruses cause immediate induction of type I interferons (which include IFN-alpha and IFN-beta). These IFN I cytokines limit spread of the virus until antigen-specific responses can fully control the infection. A report by Tough et al. (p. 1947) show that these IFN I have another function: They also augment the proliferation of T cells, including a subset of T cells that may mediate long-term immunological memory. In his Perspective, Ahmed discusses the possible contribution of this bystander effect of IFN I to immunological memory.