FRANCIS LEROY, BIOCOSMOS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY. FRANCIS LEROY, BIOCOSMOS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY.
Illustration based on a scanning electron micrograph of a single T-lymphocyte, a class of white blood cell. The T-cell develops in the thymus & is a key component of the immune system involved in cell-mediated response to invasion of body by foreign organisms or particles, notably viruses and some bacteria, which are protected from direct attack from antibodies (produced by B- lymphocytes) by their host cells. Unlike B-cells, T-cells do not produce antibodies; instead they recognize selective surface antigens on infected cells and certain types ("killer" T-cells) proceed to destroy infected cells by direct contact.
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