Local antigen in nonlymphoid tissue promotes resident memory CD8+ T cell formation during viral infection

Tahsin N. Khan, Jana L. Mooster, Augustus M. Kilgore, Jossef F. Osborn, Jeffrey C. Nolz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

137 Scopus citations


Tissue-resident memory (Trm) CD8+ T cells are functionally distinct from their circulating counterparts and are potent mediators of host protection against reinfection. Whether local recognition of antigen in nonlymphoid tissues during infection can impact the formation of Trm populations remains unresolved. Using skin infections with vaccinia virus (VacV)-expressing model antigens, we found that local antigen recognition had a profound impact on Trm formation. Activated CD8+ T cells trafficked to VacV-infected skin in an inflammation-dependent, but antigen-independent, manner. However, after viral clearance, there was a subsequent ~50-fold increase in Trm formation when antigen was present in the tissue microenvironment. Secondary antigen stimulation in nonlymphoid tissue caused CD8+ T cells to rapidly express CD69 and be retained at the site of infection. Finally, Trm CD8+ T cells that formed during VacV infection in an antigen-dependent manner became potent stimulators of localized antigen-specific inflammatory responses in the skin. Thus, our studies indicate that the presence of antigen in the nonlymphoid tissue microenvironment plays a critical role in the formation of functional Trm CD8+ T cell populations, a finding with relevance for both vaccine design and prevention of inflammatory disorders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)951-966
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Experimental Medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - May 30 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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