Ly-6C is a marker of memory CD8+ T cells

T. L. Walunas, D. S. Bruce, L. Dustin, D. Y. Loh, J. A. Bluestone*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

88 Scopus citations


This study examined long-term phenotypic and functional effects of TCR ligation in vivo. Flow cytometric analysis of T cells from mice treated with anti-CD3 revealed an increase in CD44 expression in both the CD4+ and CD8+ populations. The phenotypic changes were a result of TCR engagement, because treatment with staphylococcal enterotoxin B (SEB) resulted in a preferential increase in CD44 expression on the SEB-reactive Vβ8 T cells. In addition, the percentage of cells expressing Ly-6C increased among the CD8+ subset after anti-CD3 treatment and in the Vβ8+ CD8+ subset after treatment with SEB. Finally, the TCR transgenic (Tg) mouse strain 2C was used to confirm that the phenotypic changes can be induced by exposure to a physiologic ligand (H-2L(d)). Before treatment, nearly all of the Tg+CD8+ cells were CD44(low)/Ly-6C-. Tg+ peritoneal exudate T cells isolated from mice challenged with P815 cells (H-2L(d)) up-regulated Ly-6C and secreted higher levels of IFN-γ on a per Tg+ CD8+ T cell basis after treatment. Taken together, these data indicate that in vivo TCR/CD3 engagement results in phenotypic and functional changes in T cells. Furthermore, Ly-6C expression correlates with an increase in IFN-γ, production after antigenic stimulation of CD8+ T cells, suggesting that it is a 'memory' marker that correlates with Ag-specific functional changes in CD8+ T cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1873-1883
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1995

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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