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Mature T cells can switch function to better tackle infection
Date:1/20/2013

back to bearing both CD4 and CD8 markers in the mouse intestine. By analyzing RNA extracted from ThPOK-negative CD4+ CD8+ cells, the researchers demonstrate that the cells express various CD8+ cell-specific genes encoding for cytolitic proteins and that they have effectively differentiated into CD8+ killer T cells.

The authors conclude: "The unexpected plasticity of mature CD4+ T cells to differentiate into CD8+ cytolitic cells expands the functional capabilities of CD4+ T cells. It is possible that CD4+ T cells are also involved in direct protective functions and provide the immune system with an alternative protective mechanism."

According to them, these cells may be recruited to help in the immune response at interfaces such as the skin or mucosae, where the rapid elimination of infected cells is crucial.


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Contact: Juliette Savin
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RIKEN
Source:Eurekalert

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