Memory-phenotype CD4+ T cells spontaneously generated under steady-state conditions exert innate TH1-like effector function

Takeshi Kawabe, Dragana Jankovic, Shuko Kawabe, Yuefeng Huang, Ping Hsien Lee, Hidehiro Yamane, Jinfang Zhu, Alan Sher, Ronald N. Germain, William E. Paul

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


Conventional CD4+ T cells are composed of naïve, pathogen-specific memory, and pathogen-independent memory-phenotype (MP) cells under steady state. Naïve and pathogen-specific memory cells play key roles in adaptive immunity, whereas the homeostatic mechanisms regulating the generation of MP cells and their biological functions are unclear. We show that MP cells are autonomously generated from peripheral naïve cells in the absence of infectious stimulation in a T cell receptor (TCR)– and CD28-dependent manner. We further demonstrate that MP cells contain a T-bethi subpopulation that is continuously generated by environmental interleukin-12 (IL-12) and rapidly produces interferon- (IFN-) in response to IL-12 in the absence of pathogen recognition. These cells can provide nonspecific host resistance against Toxoplasma gondii infection while enhancing the adaptive CD4+ T cell responses. Together, these findings reveal that MP cells are continuously generated from naïve precursors and have a previously undescribed innate immune function by which they produce an early, T helper cell type 1 (TH1)–like protective response against pathogens.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbereaam9304
JournalScience Immunology
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Memory-phenotype CD4<sup>+</sup> T cells spontaneously generated under steady-state conditions exert innate T<sub>H</sub>1-like effector function'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this