One naive T cell, multiple fates in CD8+ T cell differentiation

Carmen Gerlach, Jeroen W. J. van Heijst, Erwin Swart, Daoud Sie, Nicola Armstrong, Ron M. Kerkhoven, Dietmar Zehn, Michael J. Bevan, Koen Schepers, Ton N. M. Schumacher

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146 Citations (Scopus)


The mechanism by which the immune system produces effector and memory T cells is largely unclear. To allow a large-scale assessment of the development of single naive T cells into different subsets, we have developed a technology that introduces unique genetic tags (barcodes) into naive T cells. By comparing the barcodes present in antigen-specific effector and memory T cell populations in systemic and local infection models, at different anatomical sites, and for TCR-pMHC interactions of different avidities, we demonstrate that under all conditions tested, individual naive T cells yield both effector and memory CD8+ T cell progeny. This indicates that effector and memory fate decisions are not determined by the nature of the priming antigen-presenting cell or the time of T cell priming. Instead, for both low and high avidity T cells, individual naive T cells have multiple fates and can differentiate into effector and memory T cell subsets
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1235-1246
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Experimental Medicine
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 7 Jun 2010


  • Animals
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes/cytology
  • Cell Differentiation/immunology
  • Cell Lineage/immunology
  • Immunologic Memory/immunology
  • Listeriosis/complications
  • Lymphoid Tissue/cytology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Orthomyxoviridae Infections/complications
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell/immunology
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets/cytology

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