When a dendritic cell meets a T cell… The dendritic cell and its “arms” can be seen on the left of the images. On the right is a smaller T cell. In the first image, the dendritic cell reaches out in search of a T cell. In the second image, it finds a T cell and extends its arms towards it. In the third image, the dendritic cell entraps the T cell. © F. Benvenuti/Institut Curie
In this dendritic cell, the proteins Rac 1 and 2 are inactive. The dendritic cell is "unaware" of the presence of the T cell. © F. Benvenuti/Institut Curie
The dendritic cells act as the body’s sentries, standing guard around the clock. As soon as they detect a potential enemy, they alert the T cells, whose role is to defend the body.
At the Institut Curie, CNRS researchers in an Inserm laboratory have filmed the encounter of dendritic cells and T cells. They have shown that this "rendez-vous", which is indispensable for the activation of the immune system, cannot take place in the absence of the proteins Rac 1 and 2. Published in the August 20, 2004 issue of Science, this discovery yields new information on the immune system and could in time pave the way for advances in immunotherapy.
Our immune system is on call round the clock. Whenever a foreign body intrudes (virus, bacterium…), or even in response to the anarchic proliferation of the body’s own cells (cancer), the immune system sounds the alarm.
Catherine Goupillon | alfa
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