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, 40 (2), 114-27

The Effector to Memory Transition of CD4 T Cells


The Effector to Memory Transition of CD4 T Cells

K Kai McKinstry et al. Immunol Res.


The small number of antigen-specific memory CD4 T cells surviving long-term after antigen or pathogen challenge are often characterized by a surprising degree of phenotypic and functional heterogeneity. We here propose that the immune system has evolved to express this diversity in memory T-cell populations, in order to provide flexibility in recall responses, via a rapid transition from heterogeneous effector cells into correspondingly heterogeneous memory cells. Little attention has been paid to another important transition-from resting memory cell to re-activated effector. We would suggest that superior functional attributes of secondary effectors arising from memory CD4 T cells, as compared to primary effectors arising from naïve precursors, play an important and underappreciated role in protective secondary immune responses.

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