alexa Signaling Mechanisms that Balance Anti-viral, Auto-reac
ISSN: 2155-9899

Journal of Clinical & Cellular Immunology
Open Access

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Review Article

Signaling Mechanisms that Balance Anti-viral, Auto-reactive, and Antitumor Potential of Low Affinity T Cells

Michael Hebeisen1,2, Nathalie Rufer1,2, Susanne G. Oberle3, Daniel E Speiser2 and Dietmar Zehn3*
1Department of Research, Lausanne University Hospital Center and University of Lausanne, Lausanne, Switzerland
2Ludwig Center for Cancer Research, University of Lausanne, Lausanne, Switzerland
3Swiss Vaccine Research Institute (SVRI), 1066 Epalinges, Switzerland; and Division of Immunology and Allergy, Department of Medicine, Lausanne University Hospital (CHUV), 1011 Lausanne, Switzerland
Corresponding Author : Dietmar Zehn
Swiss Vaccine Research Institute
Centre des laboratoires d’Epalinges-CLE
Ch. des Boveresses 155
1066 Epalinges, Switzerland
Tel: +41(21)6925912
Fax: +41(21)3141070
E-mail: [email protected]
Received August 12, 2012; Accepted September 22, 2012; Published September 28, 2012
Citation: Hebeisen M, Rufer N, Oberle SG, Speiser DE, Zehn D (2012) Signaling Mechanisms that Balance Anti-viral, Auto-reactive, and Anti-tumor Potential of Low Affinity T cells. J Clin Cell Immunol S12:003. doi:10.4172/2155-9899.S12-003
Copyright: © 2012 Hebeisen M, et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
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T cells protect us from a large number of infectious diseases. Several lines of evidence indicate that T cells can also eliminate malignant cells and alter the progression of tumors. These two types of immune responses were traditionally viewed to involve different types or qualities of T cells. Pathogen-specific immune responses were thought to be predominantly mediated by T cells bearing high affinity T cell receptors (TCRs) specific for microbial-derived antigens. In contrast, anti-tumor immunity or autoimmune diseases normally involve TCRs with intermediate-to-low affinity to self-antigens, and lower affinity T cells are believed to have severely reduced effector T cell potential. However, recent findings illustrate that the repertoire of pathogen-specific T cells is more diverse than previously considered and that significant numbers of differentiated and fully functional lower affinity effector T cells arise during infections. In this review, we will summarize our current understanding of the importance and the effector capacity of low affinity T cells during infection, autoimmunity and anti-tumor responses. We will discuss how T cell function is influenced by TCR affinity and TCR signal strength, and we will focus on how the expression of inhibitory and activating receptors impact the function of T cells with different antigen affinity. Manipulating T cell activity through engaging or blocking these pathways bears an enormous potential to alter the clinical outcome of malignant diseases, chronic infections, and autoimmune disorders.

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