Concurrent generation of effector and central memory CD8 T cells during vaccinia virus infection

Amale Laouar, Monika Manocha, Viraga Haridas, N. Manjunath

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


It is generally thought that during the contraction phase of an acute anti-viral T cell reponse, the effector T cells that escape activation-induced cell death eventually differentiate into central memory T cells over the next several weeks. Here we report that antigen-specific CD8T cells with the phenotype and function of central memory cells develop concomitantly with effector T cells during vaccinia virus (vv) infection. As soon as 5 days after an intraperitoneal infection with vv, we could identify a subset of CD44hi and CD62L+ vv-specific CD8 T cells in the peritoneal exudate lymphocytes. This population constituted approximately 10% of all antigen-specific T cells and like central memory T cells, they also expressed high levels of CCR7 and IL-7R but expressed little granzyme B. Importantly, upon adoptive transfer into naïve congenic hosts, CD62L+, but not CD62L- CD8 T cells were able to expand and mediate a rapid recall response to a new vv challenge initiated 6 weeks after transfer, confirming that the CD62L+ vv-specific CD8 T cells are bonafide memory cells. Our results are thus consistent with the branched differentiation model, where effector and memory cells develop simultaneously. These results are likely to have implications in the context of vaccine design, particularly those based on vaccinia virus recombinants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere4089
JournalPloS one
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 31 2008
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • General


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