Dissection of human memory T lymphocytes
The aim of our project was to understand how naive T lymphocytes are stimulated in vivo and in vitro and how they differentiate into effector and memory T cells of different types that mediate protection against intracellular and extracellular pathogens but can also cause pathologies such as autoimmunity and allergy. In particular we performed global gene analysis of human CD4+ effector and memory T cells (including subsets defined as central memory, effector memory and follicular helper). We described surface markers to identify in humans IL-17 producing inflammatory T cells (Th17 cells) and IL-10 producing autoreactive T cells. We also addressed using a mouse experimental system the impact of the kinetics of antigen-presentation to T cell fate determination and generation of memory T cells and analyzed the migratory pathways of CD8+ central and effector memory T cells in different tissues under steady state conditions and during inflammatory responses.