About this Research Topic
T cells are lymphocytes characterized by the expression of a unique T cell receptor (TCR) on the cell surface. The T cells that rearrange the alpha (α) and beta (β) chains of their TCR are named αβ-T cells and they play a crucial role in the adaptive immune responses. αβ-T cells protect against pathogens and cellular malignancies by recognizing through their TCRs, processed fragments of antigens (peptides) that are presented by major histocompatibility complex (MHC) molecules on antigen-presenting cells (APCs). In order to survey the universe of putative peptide-MHC complexes whose numbers exceed the diversity of the T cell repertoire, TCRs are cross-reactive. This imperative cross-reactivity also can play a pathogenic role in the development of autoimmune disease. The elucidation of T cell recognition and the specificity of the T cell response in infections, cancer, and autoimmune disease not only can improve the understanding of these diseases but also contribute to the development of new immunotherapies.
This Research Topic aims to encompass various aspects of the current understanding of the functional and structural aspects of the human T cell specificity including:
1. The structural information derived from X-ray crystallography of the trimolecular complexes.
2. The different methodologies used to identify the peptides that activate T cells based either on MHC or TCR-driven approaches.
3. The elucidation of T cell specificity in infectious diseases, cancer and autoimmune diseases.
4. The development of antigen specific immunotherapies.
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