Distinct CD4 + helper T cells involved in primary and secondary responses to infection

K. Scott Weber, Qi Jing Li, Stephen P. Persaud, Jeff D. Campbell, Mark M. Davis, Paul M. Allen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

45 Scopus citations


Helper T cells are critical for protective immunity, CD8 + T-cell memory, and CD4 + recall responses, but whether the same or distinct CD4 + T cells are involved in these responses has not been established. Here we describe two CD4 + T cells, LLO118 and LLO56, specific for an immunodominant Listeria monocytogenes epitope, with dramatically different responses to primary and secondary infection. Comparing in vivo responses, LLO118 T cells proliferate more strongly to primary infection, whereas surprisingly, LLO56 has a superior CD4 + recall response to secondary infection. LLO118 T cells provide more robust help for CD8 + T-cell responses to secondary infection than LLO56. We found no detectable differences in antigen sensitivity, but naive LLO118 T cells have much lower levels of CD5 and their T-cell receptor levels are dramatically down-regulated after their strong primary response. Thus, distinct CD4 + helper T cells are specialized to help either in primary or secondary responses to infection.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9511-9516
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number24
StatePublished - Jun 12 2012


  • Affinity
  • Apoptosis
  • Infectious disease
  • T-cell receptor transgenic mice

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