Memory T cells exhibit considerable diversity that determines their ability to be protective. Here, we examine whether changes in T cell heterogeneity contribute to the age-associated failure of immune memory. By screening for age-dependent T cell-surface markers, we identify CD4 and CD8 memory T cell subsets that are unrelated to previously defined subsets of central and effector memory cells. Memory T cells expressing the ecto-5ʹ-nucleotidase CD73 constitute a functionally distinct subset of memory T cells that declines with age. They resemble long-lived, polyfunctional memory cells but are also poised to display effector functions and to develop into cells resembling tissue-resident memory T cells (TRMs). Upstream regulators of differential chromatin accessibility and transcriptomes include transcription factors that facilitate CD73 expression and regulate TRM differentiation. CD73 is not just a surrogate marker of these regulatory networks but is directly involved in T cell survival.
- memory T cell
- T cell differentiation
- tissue-residing memory T cells
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)