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Cytolytically active memory CTL present in lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus-immune mice after clearance of virus infection



Cytolytically active memory CTL present in lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus-immune mice after clearance of virus infection



Journal of Immunology 158(11): 5366-5373



Generally, it has been assumed that memory T cells are dormant and inactive cells in the absence of their specific Ag. Recent work has challenged this assumption by showing that a portion of the CD8+ memory T cell pool is in cycle. In this study, we demonstrate that a significant number of blast-size memory CD8+ T cells in mice, long after lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV) infection, mediate cytolysis against highly sensitive targets without any in vivo or in vitro restimulation and expansion with Ag. Peptide-coated RMA-S targets were sufficiently sensitive to detect low but significant cytolytic activity in bulk 51Cr release assays in nonstimulated LCMV-specific splenic memory CTL populations. Most of the directly cytotoxic activity was against the GP33 epitope, and this persisted throughout the lifetime of the mouse following infection. The cytotoxic activity was not inhibited by cyclosporin A, indicating that these cells were already in an active state and not dependent on further stimulation in vitro. It was formally shown that the cytotoxic activity was mediated by the CD8+ CTL by sorting for the blast-size CD8+ population and by blocking target cell lysis with anti-CD8 Ab. Thus, at any time after the original infection some portion of the memory CD8+ T cell pool is cycling, and it remains cytolytically active long after resolution of the original infection. These CTL may provide a rapidly acting defense mechanism against reinfection.

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Accession: 017841675

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PMID: 9164957


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