Molecular immunology of signal integration by T cell surface receptors
T cells are important white blood cells that continually circulate in the body in search of the molecular signatures ('antigens') of infection and cancer. When encountering such antigens T cells become activated and subsequently initiate immune responses in order to clear these threats. Their inappropriate activation towards innocuous and endogenous antigens leads to allergic and autoimmune responses, respectively. A key aim of the laboratory is to understand the 'calculation' that T cells make in deciding to respond to abnormal cells whilst ignoring healthy cells.
The calculation that T cells make is performed by their complex signalling machinery that integrates signals from the T cell receptor with a host of other, accessory, receptors on their surface. We are using a combination of quantitative experiments and mathematical modelling to uncover the biochemical mechanisms used by T cells to integrate these signals.
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