Determinants of virus specific CD8+ T cell hierarchies.

Grant number: 454595 | Funding period: 2007 - 2009



The CD8+, or killer , T lymphocytes (white blood cells) are the hit men of immunity, recirculating continually around the body to eliminate other cells that are dangerous because they are cancerous or infected with a virus. A major difficulty is that killer T cells also exert selective pressures that cause viruses and tumours to mutate and thus avoid immune control. This is a particularly serious problem for RNA viruses that readily mutate as they divide. These include the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) that causes AIDS and, while the mutations that are most important with influenza viruses are those that modify viral surface proteins recognized by antibodies, such T cell escape mutants ..

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