Cells of the immune system protect the body against pathogens. If cells in our bodies are infected by viruses, or become cancerous, then killer cells of the immune system identify and destroy the affected cells. Cytotoxic T cells are very precise and efficient killers. They are able to destroy infected or cancerous cells, without destroying healthy cells surrounding them. The Wellcome Trust funded laboratory of Professor Gillian Griffiths investigates just how this is accomplished. By understanding how this works, we can develop ways to control killer cells. This will allow us to find ways to improve cancer therapies, and ameliorate autoimmune diseases caused when killer cells run amok and attack healthy cells in our bodies.
Stinchcombe, JC, Salio M, Cerundolo V, Pende D, Arico M, Griffiths GM.Centriole polarisation to the immunological synapse directs secretion from cytolytic cells both the innate and adaptive immune systems. BMC Biol. 2011, 9, 45.
Tsun A, Quereshi I, Stinchcombe JC, Jenkins MR, de la Roche M, Kleczkowska J, Zamoyska R, Griffiths GM. Centrosome docking at the immunological synapse is controlled by Lck signaling.J Cell Biol. 2011, 192, 663-74.