Intrathymic T cell selection and peripheral activation of mature T cells are crucial for self-recognition and the general immune response to viral, bacterial, and tumor antigens. The T cell coreceptors, CD4 and CD8, contribute to the regulation of these processes. The importance of interactions between CD4 and molecules encoded by the class II major histocompatibility complex (MHC) for thymic T cell selection has been clearly established, however, the role of CD4-MHC class II interactions in T helper (TH) cell differentiation, in the maintenance of homeostasis in the peripheral immune system, and in the generation of memory TH cells is largely unclear. Here, we present evidence for a role of CD4 in controlling homeostasis in the peripheral immune system. We also demonstrate the importance of CD4-MHC class II interactions in inducing these previously not recognized functions of CD4.
- Transgenic mice
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