T-cell memory and recall responses to respiratory virus infections


David L. Woodland
Trudeau Institute
154 Algonquin Avenue
Saranac Lake, NY 12983,
Tel.: +1 518 891 3080
Fax: +1 518 891 5126
E-mail: dwoodland@trudeauinstitute.org


Summary:  The respiratory tract is characterized by its large surface area and the close association of an extensive vasculature with the external environment. As such, the respiratory tract is a major portal of entry for many pathogens. The immune system is able to effectively control most pulmonary pathogens and establish immunological memory that is capable of mediating an accelerated and enhanced recall response to secondary pathogen challenge. A key component of the recall response in the lung involves the rapid response of antigen-specific memory CD8+ T cells. Recent studies have shown that memory CD8+ T cells are extremely heterogeneous in terms of phenotype, function, anatomical distribution, and longevity. However, we have little understanding of how the different subsets of memory cells actually contribute to the recall response, especially with respect to peripheral or mucosal sites, such as the lung. Since immunological memory is the cornerstone of vaccination, it is essential that we understand how different memory CD8+ T-cell subsets are initially generated, maintained over time, and contribute to recall responses. This review focuses on memory T cells that mediate recall responses to influenza and parainfluenza virus infections in the lung.