Memory-phenotype CD8+ T cells can arise even in the absence of overt antigen stimulation. Virtual memory (VM) CD8+ T cells are CD8+ T cells that develop a memory phenotype in the periphery of WT mice in an IL-15-depedent manner. Innate CD8+ T cells, in contrast, are memory-phenotype CD8+ T cells which develop in the thymus in response to elevated thymic IL-4. It is not clear whether VM cells and innate CD8+ T cells represent two independent T cell lineages or whether they arise through similar processes. Here…
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