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Adv Immunol. 2005;87:27-59.

The integration of conventional and unconventional T cells that characterizes cell-mediated responses.

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Peter Gorer Department of Immunobiology, Guy's King's St Thomas' School of Medicine, King's College, University of London, London SE1 9RT, United Kingdom.


This review builds on evidence that cell-mediated immune responses to bacteria, viruses, parasites, and tumors are an integration of conventional and unconventional T-cell activities. Whereas conventional T cells provide clonal antigen-specific responses, unconventional T cells profoundly regulate conventional T cells, often suppressing their activities such that immunopathology is limited. By extrapolation, immunopathologies and inflammatory diseases may reflect defects in regulation by unconventional T cells. To explore the function of unconventional T cells, several extensive gene expression analyses have been undertaken. These studies are reviewed in some detail, with emphasis on the mechanisms by which unconventional T cells may exert their regulatory functions. Highlighting the fundamental nature of T-cell integration, we also review emerging data that the development of conventional and unconventional T cells is also highly integrated.

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