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A team of researchers from the Harbin Institute of Technology and Peking University has used single-particle cryogenic electron microscopy to study the human T cell receptor complex. In their paper published in the journal Nature, the group describes their study and what they learned from it.
T cells are involved in carrying out an immune response during an infection. Prior research has shown that each T cell has a T cell receptor, which are sensitive to proteins produced by other cells. If certain proteins are detected, the T cell becomes activated and attempts to destroy the abnormal cell. Prior research has also shown that T cell receptors consist of eight proteins, six of which are known as CD3 proteins. The other two are known as TCR proteins. In a given T cell, the TCR proteins exist outside the cell membrane, which means they are the part of the receptor responsible for detecting foreign proteins. The CD3 proteins exist in the cell membrane (in the shape of helices) and serve as a communications system between the cell and the TCR proteins. In this...
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