The Francis Crick Institute
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Adaptive from innate: Human IFN-γ+CD4+ T cells can arise directly from CXCL8-producing recent thymic emigrants in babies and adults

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journal contribution
posted on 2020-08-12, 11:38 authored by Abhishek Das, Kevin Rouault-Pierre, Shraddha Kamdar, Iria Gomez-Tourino, Kristie Wood, Ian Donaldson, Charles A Mein, Dominique Bonnet, Adrian C Hayday, Deena L Gibbons
We recently demonstrated that the major effector function of neonatal CD4+ T cells is to produce CXCL8, a prototypic cytokine of innate immune cells. In this article, we show that CXCL8 expression, prior to proliferation, is common in newly arising T cells (so-called "recent thymic emigrants") in adults, as well as in babies. This effector potential is acquired in the human thymus, prior to TCR signaling, but rather than describing end-stage differentiation, such cells, whether isolated from neonates or adults, can further differentiate into IFN-γ-producing CD4+ T cells. Thus, the temporal transition of host defense from innate to adaptive immunity is unexpectedly mirrored at the cellular level by the capacity of human innate-like CXCL8-producing CD4+ T cells to transition directly into Th1 cells.