Antigen Experience Shapes Phenotype and Function of Memory Th1 Cells

Aaruni Khanolkar, Matthew A. Williams, John T. Harty

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Primary and secondary (boosted) memory CD8 T cells exhibit differences in gene expression, phenotype and function. The impact of repeated antigen stimulations on memory CD4 T cells is largely unknown. To address this issue, we utilized LCMV and Listeria monocytogenes infection of mice to characterize primary and secondary antigen (Ag)-specific Th1 CD4 T cell responses. Ag-specific primary memory CD4 T cells display a CD62LloCCR7hi CD27hi CD127hi phenotype and are polyfunctional (most produce IFNγ, TNFα and IL-2). Following homologous prime-boost immunization we observed pathogen-specific differences in the rate of CD62L and CCR7 upregulation on memory CD4 T cells as well as in IL-2+IFNγco-production by secondary effectors. Phenotypic and functional plasticity of memory Th1 cells was observed following heterologous prime-boost immunization, wherein secondary memory CD4 T cells acquired phenotypic and functional characteristics dictated by the boosting agent rather than the primary immunizing agent. Our data also demonstrate that secondary memory Th1 cells accelerated neutralizing Ab formation in response to LCMV infection, suggesting enhanced capacity of this population to provide quality help for antibody production. Collectively these data have important implications for prime-boost vaccination strategies that seek to enhance protective immune responses mediated by Th1 CD4 T cell responses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere65234
JournalPloS one
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 7 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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