Lessons from the study of T-cell differentiation in persistent human virus infection

Semin Immunol. 2004 Jun;16(3):205-12. doi: 10.1016/j.smim.2004.02.007.


Confusion surrounds the current classification of memory and effector T-cell subsets and there is a lack of consistency in the use of these terms between human and murine studies. The development of peptide-HLA tetrameric complexes ("tetramers") that accurately identify virus-specific T cells and can be used with a range of cell surface and intra-cellular markers has provided further insights in our understanding of the process of T-cell differentiation, or post-thymic development. We propose that T-cell differentiation subsets in human viral infection should be regarded as distinct from the current definitions of memory and effector cells; further work is needed to reveal the role of the differentiation process in anti-viral immunity.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cell Differentiation
  • Humans
  • T-Lymphocytes / cytology
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Virus Diseases / immunology*