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Memory CD8⁺ T cells are gatekeepers of the lymph node draining the site of viral infection

Xu, Ren-Huan, Fang, Min, Klein-Szanto, Andres, Sigal, Luis J.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 2007 v.104 no.26 pp. 10992-10997
CD8-positive T-lymphocytes, Ectromelia virus, antibodies, immunity, lymph nodes, models, vertebrate viruses, viruses
It is uncertain how immunity protects against systemic viral diseases. Here, we demonstrate that in the absence of persistent virus, not only antibodies but also recall responses by long-lived memory CD8⁺ T cells prevent mousepox, a disease caused by ectromelia virus, a close relative of the virus of human smallpox. Moreover, we show that to protect, recall CD8⁺ T cells directly kill targets in the lymph node draining the primary site of infection thus curbing systemic viral spread. Therefore, our work provides the basis for a model where lymph nodes are not just organs where lymphocytes become activated and proliferate but also the sites where a major fight against virus spread takes place.