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Cell. 2008 Aug 8;134(3):392-404. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2008.07.025.

TGF-beta: a master of all T cell trades.

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  • 1Immunology Program, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY 10021, USA.


A functional adaptive immune system depends on a diverse and self-tolerant population of T lymphocytes that are generated in the thymus and maintained in the peripheral lymphoid organs. Recent studies have defined the cytokine transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta) as a critical regulator of thymic T cell development as well as a crucial player in peripheral T cell homeostasis, tolerance to self antigens, and T cell differentiation during the immune response. The unique mechanism of TGF-beta activation and the plasticity of TGF-beta signaling create a stage for TGF-beta to integrate signals from multiple cell types and environmental cues to regulate T cells.

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