NK1.1+ CD8+ T cells escape TGF-β control and contribute to early microbial pathogen response

Nat Commun. 2014 Oct 6;5:5150. doi: 10.1038/ncomms6150.


Following microbial pathogen invasion, one of the main challenges for the host is to rapidly control pathogen spreading to avoid vital tissue damage. Here we report that an effector CD8(+) T-cell population that expresses the marker NK1.1 undergoes delayed contraction and sustains early anti-microbial protection. NK1.1(+) CD8(+) T cells are derived from CD8(+) T cells during priming, and their differentiation is inhibited by transforming growth factor-β signalling. After their own contraction phase, they form a distinct pool of KLRG1 CD127 double-positive memory T cells and rapidly produce both interferon-γ and granzyme B, providing significant pathogen protection in an antigen-independent manner within only a few hours. Thus, by prolonging the CD8(+) T-cell response at the effector stage and by expressing exacerbated innate-like features at the memory stage, NK1.1(+) cells represent a distinct subset of CD8(+) T cell that contributes to the early control of microbial pathogen re-infections.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigens, Ly / metabolism*
  • Bacterial Infections / immunology*
  • Bone Marrow Cells / cytology
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / cytology*
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Female
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Granzymes / metabolism
  • Immunity, Innate
  • Immunologic Memory
  • Interferon-gamma / metabolism
  • Interleukin-15 / metabolism
  • Interleukin-7 Receptor alpha Subunit / metabolism
  • Listeria monocytogenes
  • Lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • NK Cell Lectin-Like Receptor Subfamily B / metabolism*
  • Peptides / chemistry
  • Phenotype
  • Signal Transduction
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta / metabolism*
  • Virus Diseases / immunology*


  • Antigens, Ly
  • Interleukin-15
  • Interleukin-7 Receptor alpha Subunit
  • Klrb1c protein, mouse
  • NK Cell Lectin-Like Receptor Subfamily B
  • Peptides
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta
  • Interferon-gamma
  • Granzymes