Distinct kinetics of cytokine production and cytolysis in effector and memory T cells after viral infection

Martin F. Bachmann, Marijke Barner, Antonella Viola, Manfred Kopf

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In the present study, naive T cells were compared with in vivo generated effector and memory T cells expressing the same TCR specific for lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus. Upon restimulation in vitro, the same minimal concentrations of the full agonist peptide p33 and also of weak and partial agonist peptides were required for proliferation of naive, effector and memory T cells, indicating no difference in threshold of activation. However, activation kinetics were distinct. While effector cytotoxic T cells exhibited immediate ex vivo lytic effector function, naive and memory T cells required 12 h and more exposure to antigen to develop lytic activity. However, both effector and memory T cells contained IFN-γ mRNA in vivo and required less than 3 h for secretion of cytokines upon restimulation in vitro. In contrast, naive T cells did not contain IFN-γ mRNA and required more than 12 h for cytokine secretion. Our results show that memory T cells exhibit a unique phenotype in that they produce cytokines and commit to proliferation as rapidly as effector cells, whereas they resemble naive T cells in the time requirement for development of cytolytic function.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)291-299
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean Journal of Immunology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1999


  • Kinetics
  • Protection
  • Threshold
  • Virus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology


Dive into the research topics of 'Distinct kinetics of cytokine production and cytolysis in effector and memory T cells after viral infection'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this