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J Immunol. 2011 May 1;186(9):5039-45. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.1003650.

Strength of TCR-peptide/MHC interactions and in vivo T cell responses.

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  • 1Department of Immunology, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Chevy Chase, MD 20815, USA.


The TCR can detect subtle differences in the strength of interaction with peptide/MHC ligand and transmit this information to influence downstream events in T cell responses. Manipulation of the factor commonly referred to as TCR signal strength can be achieved by changing the amount or quality of peptide/MHC ligand. Recent work has enhanced our understanding of the many variables that contribute to the apparent cumulative strength of TCR stimulation during immunogenic and tolerogenic T cell responses. In this review, we consider data from in vitro studies in the context of in vivo immune responses and discuss in vivo consequences of manipulation of strength of TCR stimulation, including influences on T cell-APC interactions, the magnitude and quality of the T cell response, and the types of fate decisions made by peripheral T cells.

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