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Sustained Id2 regulation of E proteins is required for terminal differentiation of effector CD8+ T cells.


CD8+ T cells responding to infection differentiate into a heterogeneous population composed of progeny that are short-lived and participate in the immediate, acute response and those that provide long-lasting host protection. Although it is appreciated that distinct functional and phenotypic CD8+ T cell subsets persist, it is unclear whether there is plasticity among subsets and what mechanisms maintain subset-specific differences. Here, we show that continued Id2 regulation of E-protein activity is required to maintain the KLRG1hi CD8+ T cell population after lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus infection. Induced deletion of Id2 phenotypically and transcriptionally transformed the KLRG1hi "terminal" effector/effector-memory CD8+ T cell population into a KLRG1lo memory-like population, promoting a gene-expression program that resembled that of central memory T cells. Our results question the idea that KLRG1hi CD8+ T cells are necessarily terminally programmed and suggest that sustained regulation is required to maintain distinct CD8+ T cell states.

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