<< Chapter < Page Chapter >> Page >

Learning objectives

  • Describe the process of T-cell maturation and thymic selection
  • Explain the genetic events that lead to diversity of T-cell receptors
  • Compare and contrast the various classes and subtypes of T cells in terms of activation and function
  • Explain the mechanism by which superantigens effect unregulated T-cell activation

As explained in Overview of Specific Adaptive Immunity , the antibodies involved in humoral immunity often bind pathogens and toxins before they can attach to and invade host cells. Thus, humoral immunity is primarily concerned with fighting pathogens in extracellular spaces. However, pathogens that have already gained entry to host cells are largely protected from the humoral antibody-mediated defenses. Cellular immunity, on the other hand, targets and eliminates intracellular pathogens through the actions of T lymphocytes, or T cells ( [link] ). T cells also play a more central role in orchestrating the overall adaptive immune response (humoral as well as cellular) along with the cellular defenses of innate immunity.

A micrograph of a round cell approximately 7 micrometer in diameter. The cell has a studded surface.
This scanning electron micrograph shows a T lymphocyte, which is responsible for the cell-mediated immune response. The spike-like membrane structures increase surface area, allowing for greater interaction with other cell types and their signals. (credit: modification of work by NCI)

T cell production and maturation

T cells, like all other white blood cells involved in innate and adaptive immunity, are formed from multipotent hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) in the bone marrow (see [link] ). However, unlike the white blood cells of innate immunity, eventual T cells differentiate first into lymphoid stem cells that then become small, immature lymphocytes, sometimes called lymphoblasts . The first steps of differentiation occur in the red marrow of bones ( [link] ), after which immature T lymphocytes enter the bloodstream and travel to the thymus for the final steps of maturation ( [link] ). Once in the thymus, the immature T lymphocytes are referred to as thymocytes .

The maturation of thymocytes within the thymus can be divided into tree critical steps of positive and negative selection, collectively referred to as thymic selection . The first step of thymic selection occurs in the cortex of the thymus and involves the development of a functional T-cell receptor (TCR) that is required for activation by APCs. Thymocytes with defective TCRs are removed by negative selection through the induction of apoptosis (programmed controlled cell death). The second step of thymic selection also occurs in the cortex and involves the positive selection of thymocytes that will interact appropriately with MHC molecules. Thymocytes that can interact appropriately with MHC molecules receive a positive stimulation that moves them further through the process of maturation, whereas thymocytes that do not interact appropriately are not stimulated and are eliminated by apoptosis . The third and final step of thymic selection occurs in both the cortex and medulla and involves negative selection to remove self-reacting thymocytes , those that react to self-antigens, by apoptosis. This final step is sometimes referred to as central tolerance because it prevents self-reacting T cells from reaching the bloodstream and potentially causing autoimmune disease , which occurs when the immune system attacks healthy “self” cells.

Questions & Answers

what is mutation
Cynthia Reply
alteration in genetic makeup
Hi, I'm new here. I'm Bello Abdul Hakeem from Nigeria.
welcome on board
Thanks brother I'm an undergraduate. I hope to study for MBBS.
pls guys help me out
what is limitation of plate
limitation of plate load test . there are some that should be considered while performing load test which are given below, this test is usually performed on relatively similar plate ,usually 1 or 2 square foot area the reason is that the plate of greater are the economically not feasible
Mechanism of bacterial pathogenicity
rashida Reply
write a short note on Algea
najaatu Reply
green minutes plants organisms that are produced in turf.
Algae is a kind of a photosynthetic organism, which is usually grown in the moist areas. These are usually the simple plants that grow near to the water bodies. It contains a kind of chlorophyll pigments that act as a primary coloring agent.
they are eukaryotic and most lived in fresh water. they are photosynthetic that's, they contain chlorophyll and store starch in discrete chloroplast.
are bacteria important to man
just Reply
yes, depending on the type of bacteria .eg the normal florals, the latic acid batteries etc are important to man
I mean latic acid bacterial
I don't understand this topic
Jane Reply
what topic is that
sahi kon hai bhosri ke
saurabh Reply
define metabolism of carbohydrates with example
Thavasi Reply
what is sterilization a
the process of keep equipment free from bacteria
is it only bacteria?
no undesirable fungi and contamination also.
what is streak plate method
what is the biofilm
metabolism is the sum of all the biochemical reaction required for energy generation and use of that energy to synthesize cell materials from small molecules in environment.
what are granulocytes
Shawnitta Reply
granulocytes are type of WBCs which contains granules in the cytoplasm
what is mutation
it is the interchange of genes from their normal sequence
is an heritable change of the base-pair sequence of genetic material
suitable example for prokaryotes
Suvetha Reply
one of the possible early sources of energy was
uv radiation and lighting
e coli is the example of prokaryotes
archaea too
which is the specific virus causing typhoid
Jeremiah Reply
it's caused by a virulent bacteria called Salmonella Typhi
write the life cycle of HIV
Firomsa Reply
describe the internal and external structure of prokaryotic cell in terms of there appearance and functions
Lenia Reply
compare and contrast similar structures found in prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells
control of microorganisms
what is sterilization
how can a doctor treat a person affected by endospore forming bacteria in his/her wound?
Mambo Reply
define disinfectant
the process of killing
the process of killing microorganisms
Practice MCQ 5

Get the best Microbiology course in your pocket!

Source:  OpenStax, Microbiology. OpenStax CNX. Nov 01, 2016 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col12087/1.4
Google Play and the Google Play logo are trademarks of Google Inc.

Notification Switch

Would you like to follow the 'Microbiology' conversation and receive update notifications?