The Influence of T Cell Development on Pathogen Specificity and Autoreactivity

Andrej Košmrlj, Mehran Kardar, Arup K. Chakraborty

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


T cells orchestrate adaptive immune responses upon activation. T cell activation requires sufficiently strong binding of T cell receptors on their surface to short peptides derived from foreign proteins bound to protein products of the major histocompatibility (MHC) gene products, which are displayed on the surface of antigen presenting cells. T cells can also interact with peptide-MHC complexes, where the peptide is derived from host (self) proteins. A diverse repertoire of relatively self-tolerant T cell receptors is selected in the thymus. We study a model, computationally and analytically, to describe how thymic selection shapes the repertoire of T cell receptors, such that T cell receptor recognition of pathogenic peptides is both specific and degenerate. We also discuss the escape probability of autoimmune T cells from the thymus.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)203-219
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Statistical Physics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Oct 2012
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
  • Mathematical Physics


  • Autoimmune T cells
  • Statistical mechanics
  • T cell pathogen specificity
  • Thymic selection


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