New way in which T cells learn to tell friend from foe

Researchers identify new mechanism that teaches immune cells-in-training to spare the body’s own tissues while attacking pathogens. As part of this early education, specialized thymus cells ‘pose’ as different tissues, teaching the immune system how to recognize both friend and foe. Immune cells that mistakenly react to the body’s own proteins are eliminated or reassigned to other jobs. The findings shed light on the origins of autoimmune diseases and on the maturation of the adaptive immune system.

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