Cutting edge: Rapid in vivo CTL activity by polyoma virus-specific effector and memory CD8+ T cells

Anthony M. Byers, Christopher C. Kemball, Janice M. Moser, Aron E. Lukacher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

91 Scopus citations


For viruses that establish persistent infection, continuous immunosurveillance by effector-competent antiviral CD8+ T cells is likely essential for limiting viral replication. Although it is well documented that virus-specific memory CD8+ T cells synthesize cytokines after short term in vitro stimulation, there is limited evidence that these T cells exhibit cytotoxicity, the dominant antiviral effector function. Here, we show that antiviral CD8+ T cells in mice acutely infected by polyoma virus, a persistent mouse pathogen, specifically eliminate viral peptide-pulsed donor spleen cells within minutes after adoptive transfer and do so via a perforin-dependent mechanism. Antiviral memory CD8+ T cells were similarly capable of rapidly mobilizing potent Ag-specific cytotoxic activity in vivo. These findings strongly support the concept that a cytotoxic effector-memory CD8+ T cell population operates in vivo to control this persistent viral infection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)17-21
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1 2003

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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