Publication:
The growth threshold conjecture: a theoretical framework for understanding T-cell tolerance

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2015-07-08
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The Royal Society Publishing
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Adaptive immune responses depend on the capacity of T cells to target specific antigens. As similar antigens can be expressed by pathogens and host cells, the question naturally arises of how can T cells discriminate friends from foes. In this work, we suggest that T cells tolerate cells whose proliferation rates remain below a permitted threshold. Our proposal relies on well-established facts about T-cell dynamics during acute infections: T-cell populations are elastic (they expand and contract) and they display inertia (contraction is delayed relative to antigen removal). By modelling inertia and elasticity, we show that tolerance to slow-growing populations can emerge as a population-scale feature of T cells. This result suggests a theoretical framework to understand immune tolerance that goes beyond the self versus non-self dichotomy.
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Negative selection, T cells, Immune self, Immunodominance, Immune tolerance
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Arias, C. F., Herrero, M. A., Cuesta, J.A.,Acosta, F.J. y Fernández-Arias, C. (2015). The growth threshold conjecture: a theoretical framework for understanding T-cell tolerance. Royal Society Open Science, 2(7), 150016.