Skip to main content

Acquisition of memory phenotype correlates with CD103 downregulation on CD8 T cells

Friday, November 08, 2013 — Poster Session IV

2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

FAES Academic Center (Upper-Level Terrace)




  • D.L. Ligons
  • G.Y. Kim
  • N. Sato
  • J.H. Park


CD103 is a cell surface integrin whose primary role is retention of lymphocytes in the skin and gut where its ligand E-cadherin is expressed. Peculiarly, CD103 is expressed on all newly generated CD8SP thymocytes but not on CD4SP cells. Why CD8 thymocytes would express a gut retention molecule, and whether it plays a role in CD8 T cell function is not clear. Notably, CD103 remains highly expressed on mature CD8 T cells, however, we noticed that a fraction of peripheral CD8 T cells had downregulated CD103. Correlating CD103 expression with differentiation markers revealed that CD103 negative CD8 T cells largely corresponded to memory-phenotype cells. Moreover, we found that homeostatic cytokine and TCR signals, precisely the signals that induce memory-phenotype cells, suppressed CD103 expression. To understand the role of CD103 downregulation on memory-phenotype cells, we adoptively transferred CD8 lymph node (LN) T cells into wild type mice. Here we found that donor CD8 T cells recovered in the gut and lymph node were distinct, as memory-phenotype cells were selectively absent in the gut. Altogether, our results show that the acquisition of a memory phenotype is accompanied by CD103 downregulation on CD8 T cells and consequently controls their tissue distribution.

back to top