PerspectiveImmunology

Enforcing T cell innocence

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Science  17 Jan 2020:
Vol. 367, Issue 6475, pp. 247-248
DOI: 10.1126/science.aaz7741

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Summary

The adaptive immune system, with T and B lymphocytes being its two principal cell types, enables efficient protection from countless pathogens. T lymphocytes emerge from the thymus as quiescent (noncycling) naïve cells and display an immense repertoire of clonally distributed T cell receptors (TCRs) that detect antigens and are generated as the result of a largely random process of somatic gene rearrangement in thymic precursor cells. On page 264 of this issue, ElTanbouly et al. (1) show that naïve T cell quiescence is actively regulated upon their egress from the thymus and that this may be critical for constraining self-reactive T cells and preventing autoimmunity.

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