We've updated our Privacy Policy to make it clearer how we use your personal data.

We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. You can read our Cookie Policy here.

Advertisement

Without Rest and Maintenance T Cells Leave Their Hosts Vulnerable to Infections


Want a FREE PDF version of This News Story?

Complete the form below and we will email you a PDF version of "Without Rest and Maintenance T Cells Leave Their Hosts Vulnerable to Infections"

Technology Networks Ltd. needs the contact information you provide to us to contact you about our products and services. You may unsubscribe from these communications at any time. For information on how to unsubscribe, as well as our privacy practices and commitment to protecting your privacy, check out our Privacy Policy

Read time:
 

T cells, biology textbooks teach us, are the soldiers of the immune system, constantly on the ready to respond to a variety of threats, from viruses to tumors. However, without rest and maintenance T cells can die and leave their hosts more susceptible to pathogens, Yale scientists report May 27 in the journal Science.

 

“We may have to change how we teach T cell biology,” said Lieping Chen, the United Technologies Corporation Professor in Cancer Research at Yale and professor of immunobiology, of dermatology, and of medicine and senior author of the study.

 

Until pathogens are detected, T cells remain in a quiescent state. However, the molecular mechanisms that keep T cells inactive were previously unknown. 

 

In the new study, Yale researchers show that a protein known as CD8a — which is found in a subset of T cells called CD8 cells — is crucial to keeping the cells in this dormant state. When scientists deleted this protein in mice, the protective CD8 cells were unable to enter a quiescent state and died, leaving the host vulnerable to infections.

 

Further, they identified another protein, PILRa, that provides a biochemical signal to CD8a. By disrupting this protein pair, both “memory” CD8 cells — cells that previously had been exposed to pathogens — and naïve cells died because they lacked the ability to stay in a quiescent state.
 

The researchers hope that understanding why this resting state is crucial to maintenance and survival of T cells can lead to improved immune system function.

 

Chen noted that as people age they tend to lose both naïve and memory T cells, making older individuals more susceptible to infections. It is possible that the inability of T cells to remain in a quiescent state could lead to people becoming more susceptible to infections and cancer, the authors suggest.


Reference: Zheng L, Han X, Yao S, et al. The CD8α–PILRα interaction maintains CD8+ T cell quiescence. Science. 2022;376(6596):996-1001. doi: 10.1126/science.aaz8658

  

This article has been republished from the following materials. Note: material may have been edited for length and content. For further information, please contact the cited source.


Advertisement