Helper T cells direct the immunological response to foreign pathogens and cancer. To become activated, helper T cells must recognize unique peptides presented on major histocompatibility complex II (pMHCII) by antigen presenting cells (APCs) with their T cell receptor (TCR). While much is known about helper T cell activation signaling cascades and the subsequent roles of helper T cell subsets, the initiation of helper T cell activation by the TCR and other co-receptors is less well understood. Specifically, the affinity of the TCR for its pMHCII can change helper T cell subset fate, proliferation, and alter the risk for activation induced cell death. High affinity TCRs are attractive targets for immunotherapies, but little is known about how helper T cells respond to high affinity TCRs. Here we describe high affinity TCR activation thresholds for both full length TCRs and chimeric antigen receptor TCRs both with and without the presence of the coreceptor CD4 and propose a mechanism whereby CD4 inhibits T cell activation via Lck sequestration and a CD4-independent method. Dysregulated helper T cells play critical roles in the development and perpetuation of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), a systemic autoimmune disease that causes widespread inflammation and organ damage throughout the body. Chronic inflammation in SLE affects the immune response to viruses and the risk of developing cancer. However, in SLE patients, it is unclear if viruses initiate the development of cancer directly or if the effects are non-interacting and concomitant. Here we describe the interactions between SLE, viruses, and cancer risk revealing that viruses and SLE do interact to increase the both the overall cancer risk and the risk for hematological malignancies. Due to vaccine efficacy, vaccine preventable diseases (VPDs) are no longer commonly experienced or understood by the public. Vaccines are a victim of their own success and according to the World Health Organization (WHO), vaccine hesitancy (VH) is one of the top threats to global health. VH is the refusal to accept vaccinations and the reasons for VH vary across time, place, and vaccine. Refuting VH is difficult as directly confronting false assumptions can cause individuals to become more entrenched in their position resulting in confirmation bias. Adults with VH attitudes are often motivated by concerns over personal liberty, harm, independence, and body purity. Here we describe the results of a VPD interview- and education-based intervention geared towards promoting positive vaccine attitudes for young adults and demonstrate that education focused on VPDs is more effective than vaccine safety.



College and Department

Life Sciences; Microbiology and Molecular Biology



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Helper T cell, CD4+ T cell, CD4, T cell receptor (TCR), Lck, IL-2, T cell activation, TCR single chain signaling (TCR-SCS), chimeric antigen receptor (CAR), full length TCR (flTCR), high affinity TCRs, systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), cancer-risk, viruses, vaccine hesitancy (VH), vaccine preventable diseases (VPDs), vaccines



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Life Sciences Commons