How T Cells Count

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Science  05 Jul 1996:
Vol. 273, Issue 5271, pp. 78
DOI: 10.1126/science.273.5271.78


The rules by which the T cells of the immune system are activated by foreign peptides have seemed inconsistent and counterintuitive. In this week's issue, Viola et al. (p. 104) report that the T cells actually count how many T cell receptors are engaged. When the number 8000 is reached, the T cell becomes activated. In her Perspective, Rothenberg describes the many questions this discovery resolves.