Division of Molecular Medicine, Hefei National Laboratory for Physical Sciences at Microscale, the CAS Key Laboratory of Innate Immunity and Chronic Disease, School of Life Sciences, University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei, China. [Email]
Efficient immune responses against invading pathogens often involve coordination between cells from both the innate and adaptive immune systems. For multiple decades, it has been believed that CD8+ memory T cells and natural killer (NK) cells constantly and uniformly recirculate. Only recently was the existence of noncirculating memory T and NK cells that remain resident in the peripheral tissues, termed tissue-resident memory T (TRM) cells and tissue-resident NK (trNK) cells, observed in various organs owing to improved techniques. TRM cells populate a wide range of peripheral organs, including the skin, sensory ganglia, gut, lungs, brain, salivary glands, female reproductive tract, and others. Recent findings have demonstrated the existence of TRM in the secondary lymphoid organs (SLOs) as well, leading to revision of the classic theory that they exist only in peripheral organs. trNK cells have been identified in the uterus, skin, kidney, adipose tissue, and salivary glands. These tissue-resident lymphocytes do not recirculate in the blood or lymphatic system and often adopt a unique phenotype that is distinct from those of circulating immune cells. In this review, we will discuss the recent findings on the tissue residency of both innate and adaptive lymphocytes, with a particular focus on CD8+ memory T cells, and describe some advances regarding unconventional T cells (invariant NKT cells, mucosal-associated invariant T cells (MAIT), and γδ T cells) and the emerging family of trNK cells. Specifically, we will focus on the phenotypes and functions of these subsets and discuss their implications in anti-viral and anti-tumor immunity.