T Cell Activation and Function: Role of Signal Strength



Optimal T cell function lies at the heart of an efficient adaptive response. T cell activation is a highly regulated process and it is important to ensure that activation occurs in the proper context to prevent the development of harmful conditions such as autoimmunity and excessive inflammatory responses. One of the important factors in this process is the strength of the primary activating signal which is delivered upon ligation of the T cell receptor (TCR) with the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) encoded class I or class II molecules bearing the antigenic peptide. The strength of signal (SOS), in turn, depends on several factors: the affinity/avidity of the TCR for the MHC–peptide complex, the time of engagement, antigen concentrations, costimulatory interactions, etc. This chapter reviews the effects of SOS on thymocyte selection and education, T cell costimulation, proliferation, survival, formation of T helper T H 1 and T H 2 subsets, responses to infectious agents etc. The role of the SOS in modulating diverse T cell responses is well appreciated. However, further studies are required to understand the mechanisms by which SOS signals are relayed from the TCR to downstream effectors to modulate T cell activation and responses.


Major Histocompatibility Complex Experimental Autoimmune Encephalomyelitis Major Histocompatibility Complex Class Immunological Synapse Double Positive 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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The suggestions and comments by members of the DpN laboratory and colleagues from different institutions during our studies on T cell activation are greatly appreciated. We thank the Department of Biotechnology, Government of India and the Commission of the European Communities for financial support.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of BiochemistryIndian Institute of ScienceBangaloreIndia

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