CD8-positive T cells

CD8-positive T cells are a critical subpopulation of MHC class I-restricted T cell and are mediators of adaptive immunity. They include cytotoxic T cells, which are important for killing cancerous or virally infected cells, and CD8-positive suppressor T cells, which restrain certain types of immune response.

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News and Comment

  • Research Highlights |

    Failure of anticancer immune responses is often due to T cell dysfunction, but the molecular mechanisms underlying this are incompletely understood. Two papers in Nature now identify NR4A transcription factors as key drivers of T cell dysfunction.

    • Alexandra Flemming
  • Research Highlights |

    Mala Maini describes a 1996 paper by Frank Chisari and colleagues that showed CD8+ T cells can exert potent antiviral efficacy against hepatitis B virus without lysing infected cells, through the production of antiviral cytokines.

    • Mala K. Maini
  • Research Highlights |

    Miller, Sen et al. show that exhausted T cells in tumours contain distinct subpopulations, one of which is long-lived and persistent and, in response to immune checkpoint blockade, can give rise to short-lived cytotoxic T cells that exert tumour control.

    • Ulrike Harjes
  • News and Views |

    Inhibition of the NKG2A immune checkpoint restores natural killer cell and T cell effector function in preclinical cancer models. In addition, NKG2A blockade in combination with other therapeutic antibodies is showing encouraging responses in a subset of patients with metastatic colorectal or head and neck cancer. However, established biomarkers of response are lacking, and larger trials are needed to enable firm conclusions to be drawn about whether NKG2A inhibition complements existing immunotherapies.

    • Benjamin C. Creelan
    •  & Scott J. Antonia