Environmental cues dictate the fate of individual CD8+ T cells responding to infection

Immunity. 2013 Aug 22;39(2):347-56. doi: 10.1016/j.immuni.2013.07.014. Epub 2013 Aug 8.


Many studies have examined pathways controlling effector T cell differentiation, but less is known about the fate of individual CD8+ T cells during infection. Here, we examine the antiviral and antibacterial responses of single CD8+ T cells from the polyclonal repertoire. The progeny of naive clonal CD8+ T cells displayed unique profiles of differentiation based on extrinsic pathogen-induced environmental cues, with some clones demonstrating extreme bias toward a single developmental pathway. Moreover, even within the same animal, a single naive CD8+ T cell exhibited distinct fates that were controlled by tissue-specific events. However, memory CD8+ T cells relied on intrinsic factors to control differentiation upon challenge. Our results demonstrate that stochastic and instructive events differentially contribute to shaping the primary and secondary CD8+ T cell response and provide insight into the underlying forces that drive effector differentiation and protective memory formation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Female
  • Immunologic Memory
  • Listeria monocytogenes / immunology
  • Listeriosis / immunology*
  • Lymphocyte Activation
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Vesicular Stomatitis / immunology*
  • Vesicular stomatitis Indiana virus / immunology