T cells

T cells are specialized lymphocytes that mature in the thymus to express uniquely rearranged T cell receptors for antigen. Classical CD4+ and CD8+ T cells are associated with adaptive immunity and often divided into subsets based on their helper, cytotoxic or regulatory functions. These T cells can also be classified into naive, effector and memory subsets based on their activation status. In addition to the classical T cells, there are various populations of innate-like T cells, including the γδ T cells and natural killer T cells. Together, these T cell subsets coordinate immune responses that protect the host from infections and cancer. Emerging studies have also revealed novel physiological functions for T cells, including roles in host metabolism, ageing and even behavioural responses.

The articles in this Collection highlight our current understanding of T cell development and function in both health and disease and explain how T cell responses can be targeted therapeutically. We will further add to this special Collection on T cells with a Poster on T cell subsets in 2021.

Reviews and Perspectives