[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The majority of highly activated CD4 T cell effectors die after antigen clearance, but a small number revert to a resting state, becoming memory cells with unique functional attributes. It is currently unclear when after antigen clearance effectors return to rest and acquire important memory properties. We follow well-defined cohorts of CD4 T cells through the effector-to-memory transition by analyzing phenotype, important functional properties, and gene expression profiles. We find that the transition from effector to memory is rapid in that effectors rested for only 3 d closely resemble canonical memory cells rested for 60 d or longer in the absence of antigen. This is true for both Th1 and Th2 lineages, and occurs whether CD4 T cell effectors rest in vivo or in vitro, suggesting a default pathway. We find that the effector-memory transition at the level of gene expression occurs in two stages: a rapid loss of expression of a myriad of effector-associated genes, and a more gradual gain of expression of a cohort of genes uniquely associated with memory cells rested for extended periods.
Full-text · Article · Oct 2007 · Journal of Experimental Medicine
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We have outlined the carefully orchestrated process of CD4+ T-cell differentiation from naïve to effector and from effector to memory cells with a focus on how these processes can be studied in vivo in responses to pathogen infection. We emphasize that the regulatory factors that determine the quality and quantity of the effector and memory cells generated include (i) the antigen dose during the initial T-cell interaction with antigen-presenting cells; (ii) the dose and duration of repeated interactions; and (iii) the milieu of inflammatory and growth cytokines that responding CD4+ T cells encounter. We suggest that heterogeneity in these regulatory factors leads to the generation of a spectrum of effectors with different functional attributes. Furthermore, we suggest that it is the presence of effectors at different stages along a pathway of progressive linear differentiation that leads to a related spectrum of memory cells. Our studies particularly highlight the multifaceted roles of CD4+ effector and memory T cells in protective responses to influenza infection and support the concept that efficient priming of CD4+ T cells that react to shared influenza proteins could contribute greatly to vaccine strategies for influenza.