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T cell migration is essential for T cell responses; it allows for the detection of cognate antigen at the surface of antigen-presenting cells and for interactions with other cells involved in the immune response. Although appearing random, growing evidence suggests that T cell motility patterns are strategic and governed by mechanisms that are optimized for both the activation stage of the cell and for environment-specific cues. In this Opinion article, we discuss how the combined effects of T cell-intrinsic and -extrinsic forces influence T cell motility patterns in the context of highly complex tissues that are filled with other cells involved in parallel motility. In particular, we examine how insights from 'search theory' can be used to describe T cell movement across an 'exploitation-exploration trade-off' in the context of activation versus effector function and lymph nodes versus peripheral tissues.

Original publication

DOI

10.1038/nri.2015.16

Type

Journal article

Journal

Nature reviews. Immunology

Publication Date

03/2016

Volume

16

Pages

193 - 201

Addresses

Department of Pathology, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, California 94143, USA.

Keywords

T-Lymphocytes, Animals, Humans, Lymphocyte Activation, Chemotaxis, Leukocyte, Models, Immunological