Regional and mucosal memory T cells

Nat Immunol. 2011 Jun;12(6):485-91. doi: 10.1038/ni.2029.


After infection, most antigen-specific memory T cells reside in nonlymphoid tissues. Tissue-specific programming during priming leads to directed migration of T cells to the appropriate tissue, which promotes the development of tissue-resident memory in organs such as intestinal mucosa and skin. Mechanisms that regulate the retention of tissue-resident memory T cells include transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β)-mediated induction of the E-cadherin receptor CD103 and downregulation of the chemokine receptor CCR7. These pathways enhance protection in internal organs, such as the nervous system, and in the barrier tissues--the mucosa and skin. Memory T cells that reside at these surfaces provide a first line of defense against subsequent infection, and defining the factors that regulate their development is critical to understanding organ-based immunity.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigens / immunology*
  • Antigens, CD / immunology
  • Antigens, CD / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Immunologic Memory / immunology*
  • Integrin alpha Chains / immunology
  • Integrin alpha Chains / metabolism
  • Models, Immunological
  • Mucous Membrane / immunology*
  • Receptors, CCR7 / immunology
  • Receptors, CCR7 / metabolism
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • T-Lymphocytes / metabolism
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta / immunology
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta / metabolism


  • Antigens
  • Antigens, CD
  • Integrin alpha Chains
  • Receptors, CCR7
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta
  • alpha E integrins