Dynamics of T lymphocyte responses: intermediates, effectors, and memory cells

Science. 2000 Oct 6;290(5489):92-7. doi: 10.1126/science.290.5489.92.


The immune response is initiated in organized lymphoid tissues where antigen-loaded dendritic cells (DCs) encounter antigen-specific T cells. DCs function as packets of information that must be decoded by the T cell before an appropriate immune response can be mounted. We discuss how the dynamics of DC-T cell encounter and the mechanism of T cell differentiation make the decoding of this information stochastic rather than determinate. This results in the generation of both terminally differentiated effector cells and intermediates that play distinctive roles in protection, immunoregulation, and immunological memory.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigens / immunology
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cytokines / biosynthesis
  • Cytokines / immunology
  • Dendritic Cells / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Immunologic Memory*
  • Lymphocyte Activation
  • Lymphoid Tissue / immunology
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell / immunology
  • Signal Transduction
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets / cytology
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets / immunology
  • T-Lymphocytes / cytology
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • T-Lymphocytes, Helper-Inducer / cytology
  • T-Lymphocytes, Helper-Inducer / immunology


  • Antigens
  • Cytokines
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell