Cutting edge: Resident memory CD8 T cells express high-affinity TCRs

Elizabeth L. Frost, Anna E. Kersh, Brian D. Evavold, Aron E. Lukacher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

64 Scopus citations


Tissue-resident memory T (TRM) cells serve as vanguards of antimicrobial host defense in nonlymphoid tissues, particularly at barrier epithelia and in organs with nonrenewable cell types (e.g., brain). In this study, we asked whether an augmented ability to sense Ag complemented their role as early alarms of pathogen invasion. Using mouse polyomavirus, we show that brain-resident mouse polyomavirus-specific CD8 T cells, unlike memory cells in the spleen, progressively increase binding to MHC class I tetramers and CD8 coreceptor expression. Using the two-dimensional micropipette adhesion-frequency assay, we show that TRM cells in brain, as well as in kidney, express TCRs with up to 20-fold higher affinity than do splenic memory T cells, whereas effector cells express TCRs of similar high affinity in all organs. Together, these data demonstrate that TRM cells retain high TCR affinity, which endows them with the high Ag sensitivity needed for front-line defense against infectious agents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3520-3524
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Oct 15 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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