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Nature. 1999 Nov 18;402(6759):255-62.

Selecting and maintaining a diverse T-cell repertoire.

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Department of Immunology and Howard Hughes Medical Institute, University of Washington, Seattle 98195, USA.


To provide a T-cell population that will respond promptly to foreign antigen, the immune system looks inward, using the variety of self-antigens to select and maintain a diverse repertoire of receptors. A protective immune system must include a T-lymphocyte population that is poised to respond to foreign antigenic peptides presented by self-major histocompatibility complex molecules. As the organism cannot predict the precise pathogen-derived antigens that will be encountered, the system uses the diverse array of self-peptides bound to self-major histocompatibility complex molecules, not only to select a receptor repertoire in the thymus, but also to keep naïve T cells alive and 'ready for action' in the periphery.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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