Humans have an estimated 1012 T cells. T cells are an extremely potent force in maintaining health, fitness and homeostasis of our bodies. While T cells are typically known for eradicating pathogens and immunoediting (eradicating cancer cells), cross-reactive T cells are thought to be the engines
behind autoimmunity. Interestingly, recent data suggest that T cells can even control the health and fitness of our organs such as the brain, central nervous system, kidney, liver, gut and the skin. T cells can regulate pain psychological stress and even repair tissue. New evidence also shows that T cells can regulate spatial learning and memory and even control heartbeat. These diverse functions are typically mediated via the T cell receptor (TCR) on the T cell membrane. Here, I will give an overview of human TCR genetics and biology and progress in understanding using NGS. This new information opens avenues to use the T cell receptor for prognostics, diagnostics and therapeutics.
Professor John Miles is a Principal Research Fellow in Molecular Immunology at James Cook University, Co-Director of the Centre for Tropical Bioinformatics and Molecular Biology and Theme Leader for the Centre for Molecular Therapeutics. He specializes in TCR immunogenetics, molecular biology, genetic recombination, biochemistry, T cell function and structural biology and TCR bioinformatics. Professor Miles received a BSc. degree in physiology and microbiology, a BSC. Honors degree in virology and a PhD in Immunology from the University of Queensland, Australia. Professor Miles has received 20 prizes and awards for his work including the Centenary Medal from her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II for Distinguished Service to Medical Research and the Community.