Impairment of immunological memory in the absence of MHC despite survival of memory T cells

Nat Immunol. 2002 Mar;3(3):244-50. doi: 10.1038/ni766. Epub 2002 Feb 11.


The mechanisms by which immunological memory is maintained after infection or vaccination are still a matter of debate. Long-term survival of memory T cells does not require major histocompatibility complex (MHC) contact. We show here that compared with memory CD4+ T cells that maintain contact with MHC class II, memory CD4+ T cells deprived of MHC class II contact show distinct functional defects upon antigen re-encounter. Thus, in contrast to their survival, maintenance of the typical quality of memory T cells crucially depends on MHC-derived signals.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigen-Presenting Cells / physiology
  • Cell Survival
  • Immunologic Memory*
  • Immunophenotyping
  • Interferon-gamma / biosynthesis
  • Major Histocompatibility Complex / physiology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Receptor-CD3 Complex, Antigen, T-Cell / physiology
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology*


  • Receptor-CD3 Complex, Antigen, T-Cell
  • Interferon-gamma