Signal transduction in T helper cells: CD4 coreceptors exert complex regulatory effects on T cell activation and function

Rolf König, Wenhong Zhou

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

16 Scopus citations

Abstract

The immune system provides a highly sophisticated surveillance mechanism to detect diverse antigens and to protect the host organism from invading pathogens and altered cells (e.g., virus-infected and tumor cells). Adaptive immune responses depend on the recognition of antigen by specific antigen receptors that are expressed on the surface of T and B lymphocytes. Helper T cells provide regulatory functions and direct the adaptive immune system to respond appropriately to a particular antigen (i.e., cytotoxic T cell responses against viral infections and tumor cells, humoral responses against extracellular bacteria and parasitic worms). Helper T cells express CD4 coreceptors, which recognize conserved domains on proteins expressed by the class II major histocompatibility complex, the same proteins that present antigen to the T cell receptor. Recent progress in T cell biology has identified multiple regulatory functions of CD4 during thymocyte development and antigen stimulation of mature T helper cells. Signaling pathways induced by engagement of CD4 independently of T cell receptor signaling mediate these regulatory functions. In this review, we discuss the regulation of T cell signaling and emphasize the functional consequences of proper and improper CD4 coreceptor signallng.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalCurrent Issues in Molecular Biology
Volume6
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Microbiology (medical)

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