Purpose of review: Immune memory is essential for host defense against invaders and it is also used as a basis for vaccine development. For these reasons, it is crucial to understand its molecular basis. In this review, we describe recent findings on memory characteristics of innate-like lymphocytes and its contribution to host protection.(Figure is included in full-text article.) RECENT FINDINGS: In addition to adaptive immune cells, innate cells are also able to mount memory responses through a process called 'trained immunity.' Importantly, the lymphoid lineage is not restricted to cells carrying specific T-cell or B-cell receptors, but include cells with germline-encoded receptors. Recent studies show that these innate-like lymphocytes are able to generate efficient recall responses to reinfection. In different circumstances and depending on the cell type, innate-like lymphocyte memory can be antigen-specific or unspecific. Epigenetic changes accompany the generation of memory in these cells, but are still poorly defined.
Summary: Immune memory is not restricted to antigen-specific cells, but also encompass different populations of innate immune cells. Innate-like lymphocytes embrace features of both innate and adaptive immune memory, and thus bridge adaptive and innate immune characteristics.