Rapid development of T cell memory

Phillip Wong, María Lara-Tejero, Alexander Ploss, Ingrid Leiner, Eric G. Pamer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


Prime-boost immunization is a promising strategy for inducing and amplifying pathogen- or tumor-specific memory CD8 T cell responses. Although expansion of CD8 T cell populations following the second Ag dose, is integral to the prime-boost strategy, it remains unclear when, after priming, memory T cells become competent to proliferate. In this study, we show that Ag-specific CD8 T cells with the capacity to undergo extensive expansion are already present at the peak of the primary immune response in mice. These early memory T cells represent a small fraction of the primary immune response and, at early time points, their potential to proliferate is obscured by large effector T cell populations that rapidly clear Ag upon reimmunization. With sufficient Ag boosting, however, secondary expansion of these memory cells can be induced as early as 5-7 days following primary immunization. Importantly, both early and delayed boosting result in similar levels of protective immunity to subsequent pathogen challenge. Early commitment and differentiation of memory T cells during primary immunization suggest that a short duration between priming and boosting is feasible, providing potential logistic advantages for large-scale prime-boost vaccination of human populations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7239-7245
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Jun 15 2004
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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