Chemokine Signatures of Pathogen-Specific T Cells II: Memory T Cells in Acute and Chronic Infection

J Immunol. 2020 Oct 15;205(8):2188-2206. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.2000254. Epub 2020 Sep 18.


Pathogen-specific memory T cells (TM) contribute to enhanced immune protection under conditions of reinfection, and their effective recruitment into a recall response relies, in part, on cues imparted by chemokines that coordinate their spatiotemporal positioning. An integrated perspective, however, needs to consider TM as a potentially relevant chemokine source themselves. In this study, we employed a comprehensive transcriptional/translational profiling strategy to delineate the identities, expression patterns, and dynamic regulation of chemokines produced by murine pathogen-specific TM CD8+TM, and to a lesser extent CD4+TM, are a prodigious source for six select chemokines (CCL1/3/4/5, CCL9/10, and XCL1) that collectively constitute a prominent and largely invariant signature across acute and chronic infections. Notably, constitutive CCL5 expression by CD8+TM serves as a unique functional imprint of prior antigenic experience; induced CCL1 production identifies highly polyfunctional CD8+ and CD4+TM subsets; long-term CD8+TM maintenance is associated with a pronounced increase of XCL1 production capacity; chemokines dominate the earliest stages of the CD8+TM recall response because of expeditious synthesis/secretion kinetics (CCL3/4/5) and low activation thresholds (CCL1/3/4/5/XCL1); and TM chemokine profiles modulated by persisting viral Ags exhibit both discrete functional deficits and a notable surplus. Nevertheless, recall responses and partial virus control in chronic infection appear little affected by the absence of major TM chemokines. Although specific contributions of TM-derived chemokines to enhanced immune protection therefore remain to be elucidated in other experimental scenarios, the ready visualization of TM chemokine-expression patterns permits a detailed stratification of TM functionalities that may be correlated with differentiation status, protective capacities, and potential fates.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Animals
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Chemokines / genetics
  • Chemokines / immunology*
  • Chronic Disease
  • Immunologic Memory*
  • Infections / genetics
  • Infections / immunology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Mice, Knockout


  • Chemokines