Increased expression of the NK cell receptor KLRG1 by virus-specific CD8 T cells during persistent antigen stimulation.
Thimme R., Appay V., Koschella M., Panther E., Roth E., Hislop AD., Rickinson AB., Rowland-Jones SL., Blum HE., Pircher H.
The killer cell lectin-like receptor G1 (KLRG1) is a natural killer cell receptor expressed by T cells that exhibit impaired proliferative capacity. Here, we determined the KLRG1 expression by virus-specific T cells. We found that repetitive and persistent antigen stimulation leads to an increase in KLRG1 expression of virus-specific CD8+ T cells in mice and that virus-specific CD8+ T cells are mostly KLRG1+ in chronic human viral infections (human immunodeficiency virus, cytomegalovirus, and Epstein-Barr virus) but not in resolved infection (influenza virus). Thus, by using KLRG1 as a T-cell marker, our results suggest that the differentiation status and function of virus-specific CD8+ T cells are directly influenced by persistent antigen stimulation.