Cutting edge: Requirement for IL-15 in the generation of primary and memory antigen-specific CD8 T cells

Kimberly S. Schluns, Kristina Williams, Averil Ma, Xin X. Zheng, Leo Lefrançois

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

415 Scopus citations

Abstract

IL-15 and IL-15α are required for generation of memory-phenotype CD8 T cells in unimmunized mice. However, the role of IL-15 in primary expansion and generation of Ag-specific memory CD8 T cells in vivo has not been investigated. We characterized the CD8 T cell response against vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) in IL-15-/- and IL-15Rα-/- mice. Surprisingly, IL-15 was required for primary expansion of VSV- specific CD8 T cells. The generation of VSV-specific memory CD8 T cells was also impaired without IL-15 signaling, and this defect correlated with a decrease in memory CD8 T cell turnover. Despite minimal proliferation without IL-15, a subset of memory cells survived long-term. IL-15Rα expression was low on naive CD8 T cells, up-regulated on Ag-specific effector cells, and sustained on memory cells. Thus, IL-15 was important for the generation and the subsequent maintenance of antiviral memory CD8 T cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4827-4831
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Immunology
Volume168
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - 15 May 2002
Externally publishedYes

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