T cell exhaustion during persistent viral infections

Academic Article

Abstract

  • © 2014 Elsevier Inc. Although robust and highly effective anti-viral T cells contribute to the clearance of many acute infections, viral persistence is associated with the development of functionally inferior, exhausted, T cell responses. Exhaustion develops in a step-wise and progressive manner, ranges in severity, and can culminate in the deletion of the anti-viral T cells. This disarming of the response is consequential as it compromises viral control and potentially serves to dampen immune-mediated damage. Exhausted T cells are unable to elaborate typical anti-viral effector functions. They are characterized by the sustained upregulation of inhibitory receptors and display a gene expression profile that distinguishes them from prototypic effector and memory T cell populations. In this review we discuss the properties of exhausted T cells; the virological and immunological conditions that favor their development; the cellular and molecular signals that sustain the exhausted state; and strategies for preventing and reversing exhaustion to favor viral control.
  • Published In

  • Virology  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Kahan SM; Wherry EJ; Zajac AJ
  • Start Page

  • 180
  • End Page

  • 193
  • Volume

  • 479-480