From single cell decisions to immunity - The fates of individual T cells
By charting the differing fates of individual T cells, researchers under the lead of SFB 914 Principal Investigator Dirk H. Busch have shown that previously unpredictable aspects of the adaptive immune response can be effectively modeled. The crucial question: What determines which of the immune system's millions of cells will mobilize to fight an acute infection and which will be held back to survive long-term, forming the basis of the immunological memory? The scientists' findings, published in the journal Science, could have implications for improved immunotherapy and vaccination strategies.
The scientists found that the immediate immune response to an infection or tumor is mounted by a relatively tiny fraction of CD8+ T cells that are capable of recognizing the associated antigen. These few rapidly expand into giant populations of short-lived T cells targeted at killing infected cells or cancer cells. Meanwhile the vast majority remain in smaller populations geared toward longevity, to help ensure that the immune system will remember the antigen when it appears again in the future.
Veit R. Buchholz, Michael Flossdorf, Inge Hensel, Lorenz Kretschmer, Bianca Weissbrich, Patricia Graef, Admar Verschoor, Matthias Schiemann, Thomas Hoefer, and Dirk H. Busch (2013).
Disparate individual fates compose robust CD8+ T cell immunity.
Science 340(6132): 630-635
Univ. Prof. Dr. med. Dirk Busch
Institute for Medical Microbiology, Immunology, and Hygiene
Technische Universitaet Muenchen
Tel.: +49 (0)89 4140-4120