T Cell Biology – University of Copenhagen

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T Cell Biology

Cytotoxic T lymphocyte(blue) attacks target cell (green) and release lysosomal proteins (red)

T lymphocytes (T cells) play a central role in the adaptive immune system and are vital for the maintenance of a healthy life. T cell progenitors originate in the bone marrow, but the important events in their development occur in the thymus. Mature, naive T cells leave the thymus after very strict selection processes and start their recirculation between the blood and lymph. After a T cell is activated by its first encounter with antigen it proliferates and differentiates into one of several different types of effector T cells. T cell functions fall into three broad classes namely activation, killing and regulation. Helper T cells provide essential additional signals and cytokines required for full activation of B cells, macrophages and in some instances cytotoxic T cells. Cytotoxic T cells kill cells infected with viruses and some types of cancer cells. Regulatory T cells suppress the activity of other lymphocytes and help control immune responses.

The T Cell Biology group aims to deepen the understanding of basic mechanisms in T cell development, activation and effector functions. Our research activities range from studies in T cell lines over animal models to patients.

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