In a study published in Nature Communication, the group of Stanislas Goriely, WELBIO investigator at ULB, describe the cellular and molecular mechanisms implicated in the innate capacity of our immune system to fight against viruses.
CD8 T lymphocytes have the capacity to recognize and kill virus-infected cells.
These properties are generally not innate as “naïve” lymphocytes progressively acquire these functions upon antigenic stimulation.
After this initial contact, a small proportion of cells persists in the organism and will fight CD8 T lymphocytes have the capacity to recognize and kill virus-infected cells. These properties are more efficiently microbes during a second challenge. This is the basis of the immune “memory”. Surprisingly, some CD8 T cells may acquire these memory properties without a first contact with a foreign antigen. These cells contribute to the first line of defense against microbes.
Stanislas Goriely’s team recently identified the cellular and molecular mechanisms implicated in this process. This work helps understanding how infected cells, through secretion of antiviral mediators (interferons) promote the development of these “innate memory” cells. It sheds new light on the mechanisms that drive the acquisition of cytotoxic functions and opens up new perspectives in the field of vaccinology.
Martinet, V. et al. Type I interferons regulate eomesodermin expression and the development of unconventional memory CD8+ T cells. Nature Communications (2015) doi 10.1038/ncomms8089