The pathogen recognition theory dictates that upon viral infection, the innate immune system first detects microbial products, and then responds by providing instructions to adaptive CD8 T cells. Here, we show in mice that resident memory CD8 T cells (TRM), non-recirculating cells located at common sites of infection, can achieve near sterilizing immunity against viral infections by reversing this flow of information. Upon antigen resensitization within the mouse female reproductive mucosae, CD8+ TRM secrete cytokines that trigger rapid adaptive and innate immune responses, including local humoral responses, maturation of local dendritic cells, and activation of natural killer cells. This provided near-sterilizing immunity against an antigenically unrelated viral infection. Thus, CD8+ TRM rapidly trigger an antiviral state by amplifying receptor-derived signals from previously encountered pathogens.
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