The Push-Me Pull-You of T Cell Activation

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Science  27 Jul 2001:
Vol. 293, Issue 5530, pp. 618-619
DOI: 10.1126/science.1063516

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What causes the aberrant immune responses that result in chronic multiorgan autoimmune diseases such as systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE)? As Carson and Lo explain in their Perspective, new findings suggest that the lysophospholipid LPC--generated during the breakdown of low density lipoproteins and plasma membranes--is a master inhibitor of T cell activation ( Kabarowski et al.). Defects in the LPC pathway could lower the threshold for T cell activation leading to SLE and other multiorgan autoimmune diseases.