Functional classification of memory CD8(+) T cells by CX3CR1 expression

Nat Commun. 2015 Sep 25;6:8306. doi: 10.1038/ncomms9306.


Localization of memory CD8(+) T cells to lymphoid or peripheral tissues is believed to correlate with proliferative capacity or effector function. Here we demonstrate that the fractalkine-receptor/CX3CR1 distinguishes memory CD8(+) T cells with cytotoxic effector function from those with proliferative capacity, independent of tissue-homing properties. CX3CR1-based transcriptome and proteome-profiling defines a core signature of memory CD8(+) T cells with effector function. We find CD62L(hi)CX3CR1(+) memory T cells that reside within lymph nodes. This population shows distinct migration patterns and positioning in proximity to pathogen entry sites. Virus-specific CX3CR1(+) memory CD8(+) T cells are scarce during chronic infection in humans and mice but increase when infection is controlled spontaneously or by therapeutic intervention. This CX3CR1-based functional classification will help to resolve the principles of protective CD8(+) T-cell memory.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenoviridae Infections / immunology
  • Animals
  • Arenaviridae Infections / immunology
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / classification
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • CX3C Chemokine Receptor 1
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Chromatography, Liquid
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Humans
  • Listeriosis / immunology
  • Lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus
  • Mice
  • Receptors, Chemokine / immunology*
  • Sequence Analysis, RNA
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets / classification
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets / immunology*
  • T-Lymphocytes, Cytotoxic / classification
  • T-Lymphocytes, Cytotoxic / immunology*
  • Tandem Mass Spectrometry


  • CX3C Chemokine Receptor 1
  • CX3CR1 protein, human
  • Cx3cr1 protein, mouse
  • Receptors, Chemokine

Associated data

  • GEO/GSE63147