T cell immunity in the periphery
Infections are commonly acquired through barrier tissues such as the skin, gut and lung; hence establishing memory CD8+ killer T cell populations at these sites is critical for effective immune protection. While most memory T cells circulate in the blood, a distinct lineage, termed tissue-resident memory T cells (TRM) resides and remains in peripheral tissues. Our work has shown that these TRM cells can be non-specifically lodged in the tissue (Figure 1), where they are able to form a defensive barrier providing immediate local control of viral infection. Current work is focused on deciphering the relative contributions of resident and circulating T cells to protection from re-infection, and on developing novel strategies to enhance TRM cell lodgment in barrier tissues. This work aims to ultimately facilitate the development of future strategies to exploit TRM cells for use in a general vaccination setting.
Figure 1: Lodgement of tissue-resident memory T cells in the skin. CD8+ T cells were attracted to the skin using a non-specific inflammatory agent, where they are able to persist long-term. Shown are GFP-labeled TRM cells embedded in the epidermal layer of skin
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