Following microbial pathogen invasion, one of the main challenges for the host is to rapidly control pathogen spreading to avoid vital tissue damage. Here we report that an effector CD8+ T-cell population that expresses the marker NK1.1 undergoes delayed contraction and sustains early anti-microbial protection. NK1.1+ CD8+ T cells are derived from CD8+ T cells during priming, and their differentiation is inhibited by transforming growth factor-β signalling. After their own contraction phase, they form a distinct pool of KLRG1 CD127 double-positive memory T cells and rapidly produce both interferon-γ and granzyme B, providing significant pathogen protection in an antigen-independent manner within only a few hours. Thus, by prolonging the CD8+ T-cell response at the effector stage and by expressing exacerbated innate-like features at the memory stage, NK1.1+ cells represent a distinct subset of CD8+ T cell that contributes to the early control of microbial pathogen re-infections.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Physics and Astronomy(all)