Science Signaling Podcast: 5 November 2013

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Sci. Signal.  05 Nov 2013:
Vol. 6, Issue 300, pp. pc29
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.2004814

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This Podcast features an interview with James Faeder and Penelope Morel, authors of a Research Article that appears in the 5 November 2013 issue of Science Signaling, about the importance of the duration of T cell receptor signaling in the differentiation of helper and regulatory T cells. T cells are lymphocytes that are part of the adaptive immune system, and there are several different subtypes of T cells that have distinct molecular and functional characteristics. Whereas helper T cells promote immune responses by releasing cytokines that stimulate other immune cells, regulatory T cells suppress the immune response to prevent tissue damage and autoimmune disease, both of which can occur when the immune response is left unchecked. Although they have very different functions, regulatory and helper T cells develop from the same population of precursor cells, and the amount of signaling each precursor cell receives through its T cell receptor determines whether it develops as a helper T cell or regulatory T cell. Miskov-Zivanov et al. report that the duration of T cell receptor signaling plays a crucial role in the specification of helper and regulatory T cells from their shared precursors.

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