Editors' ChoiceImmunology

Division Decisions

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Science's STKE  27 Mar 2007:
Vol. 2007, Issue 379, pp. tw104
DOI: 10.1126/stke.3792007tw104

During an immune reaction, T cells divide rapidly and differentiate, producing a variety of T cell types that respond appropriately to the particular threat. Memory T cells also emerge from the same population and remain in the body until such time as a new infection calls once again for their attention. Chang et al. now show that single T cells undergo an initial asymmetric cell division in response to a pathogen, producing two daughter cells with alternate fates. After forming an immune synapse with an antigen-presenting cell (APC), various proteins, including some responsible for signaling and asymmetric cell division, were reoriented within the T cells. After division, daughters that were proximal to the APC-T cell synapse became effector cells, whereas their distal sisters became more memory-like and able to confer better protection when transferred to mice.

J. T. Chang, V. R. Palanivel, I. Kinjyo, F. Schambach, A. M. Intlekofer, A. Banerjee, S. A. Longworth, K. E. Vinup, P. Mrass, J. Oliaro, N. Killeen, J. S. Orange, S. M. Russell, W. Weninger, S. L. Reiner, Asymmetric T lymphocyte division in the initiation of adaptive immune responses. Science 315, 1687-1691 (2007). [Abstract] [Full Text]

D. R. Littman, H. Singh, Asymmetry and immune memory. Science 315, 1673-1674 (2007). [Summary] [Full Text]

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