A Swiss-Japanese research team suggests that mTECs do not share a common progenitor with cortical-thymic TECs (cTECs) that produce T cells, but may actually evolve from them.
T-lymphocytes, or T cells, are a principal component of the body’s adaptive immune system. Together, these cells express a large repertoire of antigen specific receptors that recognise foreign material derived, for example, from pathogens and tumour cells. The generation of these antigen receptors occurs during T cell development in the thymus.
This constitutes, however, a random process that also includes the formation of antigen receptors which respond well to the body’s own proteins, so-called self-antigens. To prevent T cells bearing a self-reactive antigen receptor to exit from the thymus to the rest of the body where they may cause autoimmunity, a mechanism is in place that involves mTECs. These specialised thymic epithelial cells express most of the body’s self-antigens. T cells that recognise their specific antigen presented by mTECs will undergo a process of programmed cell death and are consequently deleted in the thymus.
Anne Zimmermann | Universität Basel
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A study in the journal Bulletin of Marine Science describes a new, blood-red species of octocoral found in Panama. The species in the genus Thesea was discovered in the threatened low-light reef environment on Hannibal Bank, 60 kilometers off mainland Pacific Panama, by researchers at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama (STRI) and the Centro de Investigación en Ciencias del Mar y Limnología (CIMAR) at the University of Costa Rica.
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Graphene is considered a promising candidate for the nanoelectronics of the future. In theory, it should allow clock rates up to a thousand times faster than today’s silicon-based electronics. Scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) and the University of Duisburg-Essen (UDE), in cooperation with the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research (MPI-P), have now shown for the first time that graphene can actually convert electronic signals with frequencies in the gigahertz range – which correspond to today’s clock rates – extremely efficiently into signals with several times higher frequency. The researchers present their results in the scientific journal “Nature”.
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