Kinetics of the response of naive and memory CD8 T cells to antigen: similarities and differences

Eur J Immunol. 1999 Jan;29(1):284-90. doi: 10.1002/(SICI)1521-4141(199901)29:01<284::AID-IMMU284>3.0.CO;2-C.


We have studied the kinetics of the antigen induced response of naive and memory CD8 T cells expressing a transgenic T cell receptor (TCR) specific for the glycoprotein peptide amino acid 33-41 (GP33) of the lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV). Memory T cells were generated in vivo by adoptive transfer of LCMV TCR transgenic T cells into normal recipient mice, followed by LCMV infection. The results demonstrated that the cell cycle progression and kinetics of TCR down-modulation, CD25 and CD69 up-regulation were identical in naive and memory T cells after antigen recognition. Moreover, the two T cell populations did not differ in respect of activation thresholds and in their proliferative capacities neither in vitro nor in vivo. However, memory CD8 T cells could be more rapidly induced to become cytolytic and to secrete high levels of interleukin-2 and interferon-gamma than naive T cells. LCMV GP33-specific CD8 memory T cells were only slightly more efficient in reducing LCMV titers in the spleen but were far more effective than naive LCMV GP33-specific T cells in controlling subcutaneous tumor growth of B16.F10 melanoma cells which expressed the LCMV GP33 epitope as tumor-associated antigen. Thus, in our experiments the main difference between CD8 memory T cells and naive cells is the ability of the former to rapidly acquire effector cell functions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adoptive Transfer
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Antigens / administration & dosage*
  • Antigens, CD / metabolism
  • Antigens, Differentiation, T-Lymphocyte / metabolism
  • Antigens, Viral*
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / cytology
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Cytotoxicity, Immunologic
  • Glycoproteins / genetics
  • Glycoproteins / immunology
  • Immunologic Memory*
  • Kinetics
  • Lectins, C-Type
  • Lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus / genetics
  • Lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus / immunology
  • Melanoma, Experimental / immunology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Peptide Fragments / genetics
  • Peptide Fragments / immunology
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell / genetics
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell / metabolism
  • Receptors, Interleukin-2 / metabolism
  • S Phase
  • Viral Proteins*


  • Antigens
  • Antigens, CD
  • Antigens, Differentiation, T-Lymphocyte
  • Antigens, Viral
  • CD69 antigen
  • Glycoproteins
  • Lectins, C-Type
  • Peptide Fragments
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell
  • Receptors, Interleukin-2
  • Viral Proteins
  • glycoprotein peptide 33-41, Lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus