Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 23836060
J. Immunol. 2013 Aug;191(4):1578-85
Effector T cell responses rely on a phenotypically and functionally heterogeneous population of cells. Whether this diversity is programmed before clonal expansion or in later phases as a result of stochastic events or asymmetric cell division is not fully understood. In this study, we first took advantage of a sensitive in vitro assay to analyze the composition of single CD8(+) T cell progenies. Heterogeneity was predominantly observed between progenies of distinct clones, but could also be detected within individual progenies. Furthermore, by physically isolating daughter cells of the first T cell division, we showed that differences in paired daughter cell progenies contributed to intraclonal diversification. Finally, we developed an in vivo limiting dilution assay to compare individual T cell progenies following immunization. We provided evidence for simultaneous intraclonal and interclonal diversification in vivo. Our results support the idea that T cell diversification is a continuous process, initiated before clonal expansion and amplified during the first and subsequent cell divisions.