Expression of cutaneous lymphocyte-associated antigen by CD8(+) T cells specific for a skin-tropic virus

J Clin Invest. 2002 Aug;110(4):537-48. doi: 10.1172/JCI15537.


Virus-specific CD8(+) T cells traffic to infected tissues to promote clearance of infection. We used herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2) as a model system to investigate CD8(+) T cell trafficking to the skin in humans. Using human leukocyte antigen (HLA) class I tetramers, we observed that HSV-specific CD8(+) T cells in the peripheral blood expressed high levels of cutaneous lymphocyte-associated antigen (CLA). In contrast, CD8(+) T cells specific for non-skin-tropic herpesviruses lacked CLA expression. CLA-positive HSV-2-specific CD8(+) T cells had the characteristics of central memory cells, expressing CCR7, CD62L, and CD28, and they proliferated briskly in response to antigen. CLA is related to a functional E-selectin ligand, and both E-selectin and CLA-positive cells were detected in HSV-2-infected skin. HSV-2-specific T cells adhered to cells transfected with E-selectin. A higher proportion of HSV-specific CD8(+) T cells recovered from herpes lesions express CLA compared with blood, consistent with a role for CLA in skin homing. To our knowledge, this is the first report of expression of tissue-specific adhesion-associated molecules by virus-specific CD8(+) T cells. The evaluation of vaccines for skin and mucosal pathogens should include study of the induction of appropriate tissue-specific homing molecules.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigens, Differentiation, T-Lymphocyte
  • Antigens, Neoplasm
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / classification
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • CHO Cells
  • Cell Line, Transformed
  • Cell Movement
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cricetinae
  • Herpes Genitalis / diagnosis
  • Herpes Genitalis / immunology*
  • Herpes Genitalis / pathology
  • Herpesvirus 2, Human / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Immunologic Memory
  • Immunophenotyping
  • Ligands
  • Lymphocyte Activation
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / metabolism*
  • Skin / immunology*
  • Skin / virology


  • Antigens, Differentiation, T-Lymphocyte
  • Antigens, Neoplasm
  • CTAGE1 protein, human
  • Ligands
  • Membrane Glycoproteins