The growth threshold conjecture: a theoretical framework for understanding T-cell tolerance



Downloads per month over past year

Arias, Clemente F. and Herrero, Miguel A. and Cuesta, José A. and Acosta Salmerón, Francisco Javier and Fernández Arias, Cristina (2015) The growth threshold conjecture: a theoretical framework for understanding T-cell tolerance. Royal Society Open Science, 2 (7). pp. 1-15. ISSN ESSN: 2054-5703

[thumbnail of Arias, C. F. et al. 2015. The growth threshold conjeture.....pdf]
Creative Commons Attribution.


Official URL:


Adaptive immune responses depend on the capacity of T cells to target specific antigens. As similar antigens can be expressed by pathogens and host cells, the question naturally arises of how can T cells discriminate friends from foes. In this work, we suggest that T cells tolerate cells whose proliferation rates remain below a permitted threshold. Our proposal relies on well-established facts about T-cell dynamics during acute infections: T-cell populations are elastic (they expand and contract) and they display inertia (contraction is delayed relative to antigen removal). By modelling inertia and elasticity, we show that tolerance to slow-growing populations can emerge as a population-scale feature of T cells. This result suggests a theoretical framework to understand immune tolerance that goes beyond the self versus non-self dichotomy. It also accounts for currently unexplained observations, such as the paradoxical tolerance to slow-growing pathogens or the presence of self-reactive T cells in the organism.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:T cells; Immune tolerance; Negative selection; Immunodominance; Immune self
Subjects:Medical sciences > Medicine > Immunology
Medical sciences > Biology > Molecular biology
Medical sciences > Biology > Biomathematics
ID Code:55039
Deposited On:12 Apr 2019 11:04
Last Modified:12 Apr 2019 11:30

Origin of downloads

Repository Staff Only: item control page