During viral infections, chemokines guide activated effector T cells to infection sites. However, the cells responsible for producing these chemokines and how such chemokines recruit T cells are unknown. Here, we show that the early recruitment of neutrophils into influenza-infected trachea is essential for CD8+ T cell-mediated immune protection in mice. We observed that migrating neutrophils leave behind long-lasting trails that are enriched in the chemokine CXCL12. Experiments with granulocyte-specific CXCL12 conditionally depleted mice and a CXCR4 antagonist revealed that CXCL12 derived from neutrophil trails is critical for virus-specific CD8+ T cell recruitment and effector functions. Collectively, these results suggest that neutrophils deposit long-lasting, chemokinecontaining trails, which may provide both chemotactic and haptotactic cues for efficient CD8+ T cell migration and localization in influenza-infected tissues.
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