Different patterns of peripheral migration by memory CD4+ and CD8+ T cells
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Infections localized to peripheral tissues such as the skin result in the priming of T-cell responses that act to control pathogens. Activated T cells undergo migrational imprinting within the draining lymph nodes1, resulting in memory T cells that provide local and systemic protection2. Combinations of migrating and resident memory T cells have been implicated in long-term peripheral immunity, especially at the surfaces that form pathogen entry points into the body3. However, T-cell immunity consists of separate CD4+ helper T cells and CD8+ killer T cells, with distinct effector and memory programming requirements4. Whether these subsets also differ in their ability to form a migrating pool involved in peripheral immunosurveillance or a separate resident population responsible for local infection control has not been explored. Here, using mice, we show key differences in the migration and tissue localization of memory CD4+ and CD8+ T cells following infection of the skin by herpes simplex virus. On resolution of infection, the skin contained two distinct virus-specific memory subsets; a slow-moving population of sequestered CD8+ T cells that were resident in the epidermis and confined largely to the original site of infection, and a dynamic population of CD4+ T cells that trafficked rapidly through the dermis as part of a wider recirculation pattern. Unique homing-molecule expression by recirculating CD4+ T effector-memory cells mirrored their preferential skin-migratory capacity. Overall, these results identify a complexity in memory T-cell migration, illuminating previously unappreciated differences between the CD4+ and CD8+ subsets.
Immunology not elsewhere classified