Technological advances in recent years have allowed for an ever-expanding ability to analyze and quantify in vivo immune responses. MHC tetramers, intracellular cytokine staining, an increasing repertoire of transgenic and "knockout" mice, and the detailed characterization of a variety of infectious models have all facilitated more precise and definitive analyses of the generation and function of cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL). Understanding the mechanisms behind the differentiation of effector and memory CTL is of increasing importance to develop vaccination strategies against a variety of established and emerging infectious diseases. This review focuses on recent advances in our understanding of how effector and memory CTL differentiate and survive in vivo in response to viral or bacterial infection.
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