April 4, 2011
T Cells Outpace Virus By Getting A Jump-Start On Division
Killer T cells begin to divide en route to virus-infected tissue, allowing them to hit the ground running when they arrive, according to a study published online on April 4 in the Journal of Experimental Medicine (www.jem.org).
Cytotoxic ("killer") T cells (CTL) defend the body against viruses by attacking infected cells. In order to outpace a rapidly replicating virus, CTL must bolster their numbers via cell division. But early cell division is a slow process, requiring nearly a full day for each round of division. Once activated, the CTL still has to travel through the blood to get to the site of infection.
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