CD8 memory T cells: cross-reactivity and heterologous immunity

Semin Immunol. 2004 Oct;16(5):335-47. doi: 10.1016/j.smim.2004.08.014.


Virus-specific memory T cell populations demonstrate plasticity in antigen recognition and in their ability to accommodate new memory T cell populations. The degeneracy of T cell antigen recognition and the flexibility of diverse antigen-specific repertoires allow the host to respond to a multitude of pathogens while accommodating these numerous large memory pools in a finite immune system. These cross-reactive memory T cells can be employed in immune responses and mediate protective immunity, but they can also induce life-threatening immunopathology or impede transplantation tolerance and graft survival. Here we discuss examples of altered viral pathogenesis occurring as a consequence of heterologous T cell immunity and propose models for the maintenance of a dynamic pool of memory cells.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Cross Reactions
  • Immunization, Passive
  • Immunologic Memory*
  • Isoantigens / metabolism
  • Mathematical Computing
  • Virus Diseases / immunology
  • Virus Diseases / pathology


  • Isoantigens