The identity of CD45 isoforms on the T cell surface changes following the activation of naive T cells and impacts intracellular signaling. In this study, we find that the anti-viral memory CD8+ T pool is unexpectedly comprised of both CD45RBhi and CD45RBlo populations. Relative to CD45RBlo memory T cells, CD45RBhi memory T cells have lower affinity and display greater clonal diversity, as well as a persistent CD27hi phenotype. The CD45RBhi memory population displays a homeostatic survival advantage in vivo relative to CD45RBlo memory, and long-lived high-affinity cells that persisted long term convert from CD45RBlo to CD45RBhi. Human CD45RO+ memory is comprised of both CD45RBhi and CD45RBlo populations with distinct phenotypes, and antigen-specific memory to two viruses is predominantly CD45RBhi. These data demonstrate that CD45RB status is distinct from the conventional central/effector T cell memory classification and has potential utility for monitoring and characterizing pathogen-specific CD8+ T cell responses.
Keywords: CD45; T cell memory; TCR affinity.
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