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Author Notes:

Corresponding Author: Rafi Ahmed G211 Rollins Research Bldg. Emory University 1510 Clifton Rd. Atlanta, GA 30322 Tel.: +1 404 727 3571 Fax: +1 404 727 3722 rahmed@emory.edu


Research Funding:

Work from our laboratory was supported by NIH grants (AI030048 and N01-AI-50025) and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Grant (CAVD 38645). B.Y. was supported by a postdoctoral fellowship from the American Cancer Society (PF-09-134-01-MPC).


  • mTOR
  • rapamycin
  • vaccination
  • infection
  • T cells
  • immune memory

The role of mTOR in memory CD8+ T-cell differentiation


Journal Title:

Immunological Reviews


Volume 235, Number 1


, Pages 234-243

Type of Work:

Article | Post-print: After Peer Review


The mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) is an intracellular kinase that regulates cell growth and metabolism. Its specific inhibitor rapamycin is currently used in transplant recipients as an immunosuppressive drug to prevent allograft rejection. Studies have shown complex and diverse mechanisms for the immunosuppressive effects of rapamycin. The drug has been reported to inhibit T-cell proliferation, induce anergy, modulate T-cell trafficking, promote regulatory T cells, and also prevent maturation of dendritic cells as well as production of type I IFN production. However, several other studies have paradoxically demonstrated immunostimulatory effects of rapamycin by improving antigen presentation and regulating cytokine production from macrophages and myeloid dendritic cells. Recently, it has been shown that rapamycin also exhibits immunostimulatory effects on memory CD8+ T-cell differentiation. The drug improved both quantity and quality of memory CD8+ T cells induced by viral infection and vaccination, showing that mTOR is a major regulator of memory CD8+ T-cell differentiation. These discoveries have implications for the development of novel vaccine regimens. Here we review the role of mTOR in memory CD8+ T-cell differentiation and compare the effect of rapamycin between CD8+ T cells, CD4+ T cells, and dendritic cells. Also we discuss potential application of these findings in a clinical setting.

Copyright information:

© 2010 John Wiley & Sons A/S

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