CD4(+) T cell effectors can become memory cells with high efficiency and without further division

Nat Immunol. 2001 Aug;2(8):705-10. doi: 10.1038/90643.


Whether memory T lymphocytes are derived directly from effector T cells or via a separately controlled pathway has long been debated. Here we present evidence that, after adoptive transfer, a large fraction of in vitro--derived effector CD4(+) T cells have the potential to become memory T cells and that this transition can occur without further division. This data supports a linear pathway from effector to memory cells and suggests that most properties of memory cells are predetermined during effector generation. We suggest, therefore, that evaluation of vaccine efficacy in the induction of memory CD4(+) T cells should focus on the effector stage.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • CD4 Antigens / immunology
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Cell Differentiation / immunology
  • Cell Division / immunology
  • Immunologic Memory*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic


  • CD4 Antigens