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Differentiation of antigen-specific CTL

Differentiation of antigen-specific CTL

PhD/Honours project

Cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL) are necessary for the development of autoimmune disease such as type 1 diabetes as well as clearance of viral infections.  CTL are first activated in lymph nodes draining target tissue and become concentrated as fully differentiated CTL in the target tissue. Whether further stimuli following activation in the lymph node are needed for them to destroy cells that express targeted antigens and the relative importance of antigen presenting cells (APCs) in the lymph node, APCs in the target tissue and the cellular targets themselves in CTL differentiation are incompletely understood.   We have recently shown that the target tissue is the critical location for CTL differentiation. Antigen presentation by the cellular targets  (in this case pancreatic beta cells) affects CTL proliferation but has little effect on CTL differentiation.  We now aim to work out what the factors in the inflamed islets are that induce full CTL differentiation and whether blockade of these factors will prevent diabetes or destruction of  islet transplants.

Supervised by:

  • Prof Tom Kay
  • Disease Focus:

  • Type 1 diabetes
  • Research Unit:

  • Immunology