Peter C. Doherty (2015) - The Killer Defence

Peter C. Doherty (2015)

The Killer Defence

Peter C. Doherty (2015)

The Killer Defence

Abstract

Immune surveillance by virus-specific CD8+ cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs), or killer T cells, has long been known to be central to the control of acute infections and some cancers, though the role of CTL memory in the rapid recall of immune protection has been less clear. Focused onto the surface of virus-infected cells by the T cell receptor interaction with self MHC class I glycoproteins presenting non-self (viral) peptides (p), the availability of pMHCI tetramers from the latter part of the 1990’s has allowed us to both quantitate naïve, effector and memory CTLs and to explore their qualitative status by probing profiles of gene and protein expression. Apart from suggesting possibilities for novel immunotherapies and vaccines, the CTLs thus provide a fantastic system for probing two major issues, the nature of differentiation in immunity and the characteristics of homeostasis and clonal longevity in this extremely fluid and dynamic system.

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