Self-specific CD8+ T cells maintain a semi-naive state following lymphopenia-induced proliferation

Lisa D.S. Johnson, Stephen C. Jameson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Upon transfer into T cell-deficient hosts, naive CD8+ T cells typically undergo lymphopenia-induced proliferation (LIP, also called homeostatic proliferation) and develop the phenotypic and functional characteristics of memory CD8+ T cells. However, the capacity of T cells with self-peptide/MHC specificity to respond in this way has not been intensively studied. We examined pmel-1 TCR transgenic CD8+ T cells that are specific for an epitope from gp100, a protein expressed by melanoma cells and normal melanocytes. Despite their self-specificity, naive pmel-1 cells were inefficient at LIP in typical lymphopenic hosts. In CD132 (common γ-chain)-deficient hosts, pmel-1 CD8+ T cells underwent extensive proliferation, but, surprisingly, the majority of these cells retained certain naive phenotypic traits (CD44low, CD122low) rather than acquiring the expected central-memory phenotype. Following LIP, pmel-1 T cells acquired the capacity to control B16F10 tumor growth, but only in common γ-chain- deficient host mice. Together, these data suggest that LIP does not always favor expansion of self-specific CD8 T cells and that sustained extensive lymphopenia is required for such cells to exhibit tumor control.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5604-5611
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number10
StatePublished - May 15 2010


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