Not all CD4+ memory T cells are long lived

Authors

  • Jennifer M. Robertson,

    1. Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Integrated Department of Immunology, National Jewish Medical and Research Center and UCDHSC, Denver, CO, USA.
    2. These two authors contributed equally.
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Megan MacLeod,

    1. Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Integrated Department of Immunology, National Jewish Medical and Research Center and UCDHSC, Denver, CO, USA.
    2. These two authors contributed equally.
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Vanessa S. Marsden,

    1. Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Integrated Department of Immunology, National Jewish Medical and Research Center and UCDHSC, Denver, CO, USA.
    Search for more papers by this author
  • John W. Kappler,

    1. Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Integrated Department of Immunology, National Jewish Medical and Research Center and UCDHSC, Denver, CO, USA.
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Philippa Marrack

    Corresponding author
    1. Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Integrated Department of Immunology, National Jewish Medical and Research Center and UCDHSC, Denver, CO, USA.
      Philippa Marrack
      Integrated Department Immunology
      National Jewish Medical and Research Center
      1400 Jackson St
      Denver, CO 80206,
      USA
      Tel.: +1 303 398 1307
      Fax: +1 303 398 1396
      E-mail: marrackp@njc.org
    Search for more papers by this author

Philippa Marrack
Integrated Department Immunology
National Jewish Medical and Research Center
1400 Jackson St
Denver, CO 80206,
USA
Tel.: +1 303 398 1307
Fax: +1 303 398 1396
E-mail: marrackp@njc.org

Abstract

Summary:  Memory T cells are thought to have several properties that distinguish them from their naïve precursors. They are found in parts of the body that rarely house naïve cells, they respond to antigen with faster proliferation and more rapid progression to effector function, they are less sensitive to the absence of their selecting major histocompatibility complex (MHC), and, above all, they are long lived. Here we show that this last property may not be universal. Some CD4+ T cells that have surface proteins characteristic of memory cells have the same half-life in vivo as naïve cells. The description of these cells as memory cells therefore depends on our definition of the word ‘memory’.

Ancillary