The Role of Tissue Resident Memory CD4 T Cells in Herpes Simplex Viral and HIV Infection

Thomas R. O'Neil, Kevin Hu, Naomi R. Truong, Sana Arshad, Barbara L. Shacklett, Anthony L. Cunningham, Najla Nasr

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Tissue-resident memory T cells (TRM) were first described in 2009. While initially the major focus was on CD8+ TRM, there has recently been increased interest in defining the phenotype and the role of CD4+ TRM in diseases. Circulating CD4+ T cells seed CD4+ TRM, but there also appears to be an equilibrium between CD4+ TRM and blood CD4+ T cells. CD4+ TRM are more mobile than CD8+ TRM, usually localized deeper within the dermis/lamina propria and yet may exhibit synergy with CD8+ TRM in disease control. This has been demonstrated in herpes simplex infections in mice. In human recurrent herpes infections, both CD4+ and CD8+ TRM persisting between lesions may control asymptomatic shedding through interferon-gamma secretion, although this has been more clearly shown for CD8+ T cells. The exact role of the CD4+/CD8+ TRM axis in the trigeminal ganglia and/or cornea in controlling recurrent herpetic keratitis is unknown. In HIV, CD4+ TRM have now been shown to be a major target for productive and latent infection in the cervix. In HSV and HIV co-infections, CD4+ TRM persisting in the dermis support HIV replication. Further understanding of the role of CD4+ TRM and their induction by vaccines may help control sexual transmission by both viruses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 25 2021


  • HIV-1
  • HSV-1/2
  • immunity
  • infection
  • keratitis
  • tissue resident CD4+, CD8+, vaccines

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Infectious Diseases
  • Virology


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