Developmental plasticity allows outside-in immune responses by resident memory T cells

Raissa Fonseca, Lalit K. Beura, Clare F. Quarnstrom, Hazem E. Ghoneim, Yiping Fan, Caitlin C. Zebley, Milcah C. Scott, Nancy J. Fares-Frederickson, Sathi Wijeyesinghe, Emily A. Thompson, Henrique Borges da Silva, Vaiva Vezys, Benjamin Youngblood, David Masopust

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Central memory T (TCM) cells patrol lymph nodes and perform conventional memory responses on restimulation: proliferation, migration and differentiation into diverse T cell subsets while also self-renewing. Resident memory T (TRM) cells are parked within single organs, share properties with terminal effectors and contribute to rapid host protection. We observed that reactivated TRM cells rejoined the circulating pool. Epigenetic analyses revealed that TRM cells align closely with conventional memory T cell populations, bearing little resemblance to recently activated effectors. Fully differentiated TRM cells isolated from small intestine epithelium exhibited the potential to differentiate into TCM cells, effector memory T cells and TRM cells on recall. Ex-TRM cells, former intestinal TRM cells that rejoined the circulating pool, heritably maintained a predilection for homing back to their tissue of origin on subsequent reactivation and a heightened capacity to redifferentiate into TRM cells. Thus, TRM cells can rejoin the circulation but are advantaged to re-form local TRM when called on.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)412-421
Number of pages10
JournalNature immunology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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