Transcriptional Regulation of Tissue-Resident Lymphocytes

Trends Immunol. 2017 Feb;38(2):94-103. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2016 Dec 9.


Numerous innate and adaptive immune cells reside in non-lymphoid tissues, where they contribute to barrier immunity, tissue homeostasis, and immune regulation. These tissue-resident populations do not recirculate in the blood or lymphatics and adopt a unique phenotype that is distinct from immune cells in the circulation. Tissue residency has been predominantly described for memory CD8+ T cells [tissue-resident memory T cells (TRM)], but it is now clear that CD4 T cells, regulatory T (Treg) cells, various innate T cells, and innate lymphoid cells (ILCs) can establish residence in non-lymphoid tissues. Here we highlight distinct and common features of tissue-resident lymphocytes, with a focus on the transcriptional programs that have recently been shown to guide the establishment of tissue residency.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptive Immunity
  • Animals
  • Blood Circulation
  • Gene Expression Regulation*
  • Homeostasis
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Innate
  • Immunologic Memory*
  • Lymphocyte Subsets / immunology*
  • Lymphoid Tissue / immunology*
  • Receptors, Lymphocyte Homing / metabolism
  • Transcriptome


  • Receptors, Lymphocyte Homing