A Molecular Gut Reaction

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Science  30 Nov 2001:
Vol. 294, Issue 5548, pp. 1848-1849
DOI: 10.1126/science.1067117

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Intraepithelial lymphocytes are a type of T cell that is found nestled among epithelial cells of the gut mucosa. In a Perspective, Lambolez and Rocha explain how IELs protect the gut against invasion by pathogens while also promoting its turnover ( Leishman et al.). The secret is the interaction between an unusual class I MHC molecule called TL expressed by gut epithelial cells and an equally unusual CD8 molecule with two a chains expressed by IELs.