The who's who of T-cell differentiation: Human memory T-cell subsets

Yolanda D. Mahnke, Tess M. Brodie, Federica Sallusto, Mario Roederer, Enrico Lugli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Following antigen encounter and subsequent resolution of the immune response, a single naïve T cell is able to generate multiple subsets of memory T cells with different phenotypic and functional properties and gene expression profiles. Single-cell technologies, first and foremost flow cytometry, have revealed the complex heterogeneity of the memory T-cell compartment and its organization into subsets. However, a consensus has still to be reached, both at the semantic (nomenclature) and phenotypic level, regarding the identification of these subsets. Here, we review recent developments in the characterization of the heterogeneity of the memory T-cell compartment, and propose a unified classification of both human and nonhuman primate T cells on the basis of phenotypic traits and in vivo properties. Given that vaccine studies and adoptive cell transfer immunotherapy protocols are influenced by these recent findings, it is important to use uniform methods for identifying and discussing functionally distinct subsets of T cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2797-2809
Number of pages13
JournalEuropean Journal of Immunology
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2013


  • Flow cytometry
  • Human T-cell subsets
  • Memory T-cell differentiation
  • Naïve T cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Immunology and Allergy


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