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Volume 11 Issue 1, January 2010

Just as removing one or two poorly chosen blocks can reduce a neat but precariously balanced stack to a pile of rubble, mutating or impairing one or a few mechanisms responsible for maintaining immune tolerance can precipitate an autoimmune attack. The series of articles in this Focus issue cover what is known about the biological processes that underpin immune tolerance and highlight the possibility that the limited understanding of the etitology and pathogenesis of autoimmune diseases may indicate that additional important immune tolerance mechanisms still await identification. Artwork by Lewis Long.

Volume 11 Issue 1

Editorial

  • Although recent progress has aided our understanding of the processes that prevent immune tolerance breakdown, this Focus issue illustrates how much remains unknown about susceptibility to and pathogenesis of autoimmune diseases.

    Editorial

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Overview

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Review Article

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Perspective

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Research Highlights

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News & Views

  • The present views of how CD4+ T cells respond to antigen are based largely on artificial systems. A highly sensitive approach that allows normal T cell responses to be monitored in physiological conditions overturns some existing ideas about the differentiation of CD4+ T cells.

    • Charles D Surh
    • Jonathan Sprent
    News & Views
  • The mammalian intestine contains a large number of commensal bacterial strains. New work suggests that antimicrobial peptides used for defense against pathogenic bacteria are also used to adjust the balance among bacterial populations and to control intestinal homeostasis.

    • Alfredo Menendez
    • Rosana B R Ferreira
    • B Brett Finlay
    News & Views
  • Recent advances in microscopy have enabled imaging of cell surface receptors at ever higher resolutions. A report using the latest technology now provides evidence that the T cell antigen receptor and the adaptor Lat are confined to small islands, which cluster together after triggering of the T cell antigen receptor.

    • P Anton van der Merwe
    • Paul D Dunne
    • Simon J Davis
    News & Views
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Research Highlights

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Obituary

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Article

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Corrigendum

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Erratum

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Focus

  • An overview, four review articles and two perspective articles cover the cellular and molecular mechanisms required to maintain self tolerance, as well as events that can precipitate tolerance breakdown and lead to autoimmunity.

    Focus
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