A functional subset of CD8+ T cells during chronic exhaustion is defined by SIRPα expression
Myers, L.M., Tal, M.C., Torrez Dulgeroff, L.B. et al.
Prolonged exposure of CD8+ T cells to antigenic stimulation, as in chronic viral infections, leads to a state of diminished function termed exhaustion. We now demonstrate that even during exhaustion there is a subset of functional CD8+ T cells defined by surface expression of SIRPα, a protein not previously reported on lymphocytes. On SIRPα+ CD8+ T cells, expression of co-inhibitory receptors is counterbalanced by expression of co-stimulatory receptors and it is only SIRPα+ cells that actively proliferate, transcribe IFNγ and show cytolytic activity. Furthermore, target cells that express the ligand for SIRPα, CD47, are more susceptible to CD8+ T cell-killing in vivo. SIRPα+ CD8+ T cells are evident in mice infected with Friend retrovirus, LCMV Clone 13, and in patients with chronic HCV infections. Furthermore, therapeutic blockade of PD-L1 to reinvigorate CD8+ T cells during chronic infection expands the cytotoxic subset of SIRPα+ CD8+ T cells.
Myers, L.M., Tal, M.C., Torrez Dulgeroff, L.B. et al. "A functional subset of CD8+ T cells during chronic exhaustion is defined by SIRPα expression" Nature Communications (2019): 794