Following antigen-driven expansion in lymph node, transforming growth factor-β (TGFβ) is required for differentiation of skin-recruited CD8+ T cell effectors into epidermal resident memory T (Trm) cells and their epidermal persistence. We found that the source of TGFβ -supporting Trm cells was autocrine. In addition, antigen-specific Trm cells that encountered cognate antigen in the skin, and bystander Trm cells that did not, both displayed long-term persistence in the epidermis under steady-state conditions. However, when the active-TGFβ was limited or when new T cell clones were recruited into the epidermis, antigen-specific Trm cells were more efficiently retained than bystander Trm cells. Genetically enforced TGFβR signaling allowed bystander Trm cells to persist in the epidermis as efficiently as antigen-specific Trm cells in both contexts. Thus, competition between T cells for active TGFβ represents an unappreciated selective pressure that promotes the accumulation and persistence of antigen-specific Trm cells in the epidermal niche.
Keywords: TGFβ; antigen; bystander Trm; competition; keratinocytes; niche; resident memory T cells; skin; α(v)β(6); α(v)β(8).
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