Student Author(s)

Varun N. Kapoor

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Pathology; Program in Immunology and Virology

Publication Date


Document Type



Allergy and Immunology | Immunology and Infectious Disease | Immunology of Infectious Disease | Immunoprophylaxis and Therapy | Infectious Disease | Microbiology | Virology | Virus Diseases


Virus-specific CD8+ T cells in the lymphoid organs contract at the resolution of virus infections by apoptosis or by dissemination into peripheral tissues, and those residing in nonlymphoid organs, including the peritoneal cavity and fat pads, are more resistant to apoptosis than those in the spleen and lymph nodes. This stability of memory T cells in the nonlymphoid tissues may enhance protection to secondary challenges. Here, we show that lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV)-specific CD8+ T cells in nonlymphoid tissues were enriched for memory precursors (expressing high levels of interleukin-7 receptor and low levels of killer cell lectin-like receptor G1 [IL-7Rhi KLRG1lo]) and had higher expression of CD27, CXCR3, and T cell factor-1 (TCF-1), each a marker that is individually correlated with decreased apoptosis. CD8+ T cells in the peritoneal cavity of TCF-1-deficient mice had decreased survival, suggesting a role for TCF-1 in promoting survival in the nonlymphoid tissues. CXCR3+ CD8+ T cells resisted apoptosis and accumulated in the lymph nodes of mice treated with FTY720, which blocks the export of lymph node cells into peripheral tissue. The peritoneal exudate cells (PEC) expressed increased amounts of CXCR3 ligands, CXCL9 and CXCL10, which may normally recruit these nonapoptotic cells from the lymph nodes. In addition, adoptive transfer of splenic CD8+ T cells into PEC or spleen environments showed that the peritoneal environment promoted survival of CD8+ T cells. Thus, intrinsic stability of T cells which are present in the nonlymphoid tissues along with preferential migration of apoptosis-resistant CD8+ T cells into peripheral sites and the availability of tissue-specific factors that enhance memory cell survival may collectively account for the tissue-dependent apoptotic differences.

IMPORTANCE: Most infections are initiated at nonlymphoid tissue sites, and the presence of memory T cells in nonlymphoid tissues is critical for protective immunity in various viral infection models. Virus-specific CD8+ T cells in the nonlymphoid tissues are more resistant to apoptosis than those in lymphoid organs during the resolution and memory phase of the immune response to acute LCMV infection. Here, we investigated the mechanisms promoting stability of T cells in the nonlymphoid tissues. This increased resistance to apoptosis of virus-specific CD8+ T cells in nonlymphoid tissues was due to several factors. Nonlymphoid tissues were enriched in memory phenotype CD8+ T cells, which were intrinsically resistant to apoptosis irrespective of the tissue environment. Furthermore, apoptosis-resistant CD8+ T cells preferentially migrated into the nonlymphoid tissues, where the availability of tissue-specific factors may enhance memory cell survival. Our findings are relevant for the generation of long-lasting vaccines providing protection at peripheral infection sites.

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Copyright © 2014, American Society for Microbiology. Publisher PDF posted as allowed by the publisher's author rights policy at

DOI of Published Version



J Virol. 2014 Sep 1;88(17):9490-503. doi: 10.1128/JVI.01223-14. Epub 2014 Jun 18. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Journal of virology

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID