T lymphocytes play a central role in the mammalian immune response against potentially hazardous pathogens, such as parasites, bacteria, viruses and fungi. These cells have the remarkable capacity to specifically recognize foreign substances, termed antigens, to which they respond by clonal amplification and cellular differentiation, conferring lifelong protective immunity to reinfection with the same pathogen. T lymphocytes express an antigen-specific receptor, called the T cell receptor (TCR), which recognizes peptide fragments derived from foreign proteins or pathogens that have entered into host cells. Defective T cell development and function can result in increased susceptibility to infections or even development of leukemias, allergies and autoimmune diseases. On the other hand, T lymphocytes can be manipulated to eradicate tumor and control graft rejection after organ transplantation. Therefore, in addition to biological interest, knowledge on T cell biology is important for understanding the etiology of a wide variety of diseases and potentially improves current therapies.

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R. Benner (Robbert)
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam
Dutch Cancer Society (KWF), Association for International Cancer Research (AICR)
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

van Hamburg, J.P. (2008, October). Role of GATA Transcription Factors in the T Cell Lineage. Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/1765/13426