Asymmetric T lymphocyte division in the initiation of adaptive immune responses Academic Article uri icon


MeSH Major

  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes
  • Cell Division
  • Immunologic Memory
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets


  • A hallmark of mammalian immunity is the heterogeneity of cell fate that exists among pathogen-experienced lymphocytes. We show that a dividing T lymphocyte initially responding to a microbe exhibits unequal partitioning of proteins that mediate signaling, cell fate specification, and asymmetric cell division. Asymmetric segregation of determinants appears to be coordinated by prolonged interaction between the T cell and its antigen-presenting cell before division. Additionally, the first two daughter T cells displayed phenotypic and functional indicators of being differentially fated toward effector and memory lineages. These results suggest a mechanism by which a single lymphocyte can apportion diverse cell fates necessary for adaptive immunity.

publication date

  • March 23, 2007



  • Academic Article



  • eng

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1126/science.1139393

PubMed ID

  • 17332376

Additional Document Info

start page

  • 1687

end page

  • 91


  • 315


  • 5819