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This content will become publicly available on August 30, 2024

Title: Modulation of antigen discrimination by duration of immune contacts in a kinetic proofreading model of T cell activation with extreme statistics

T cells form transient cell-to-cell contacts with antigen presenting cells (APCs) to facilitate surface interrogation by membrane bound T cell receptors (TCRs). Upon recognition of molecular signatures (antigen) of pathogen, T cells may initiate an adaptive immune response. The duration of the T cell/APC contact is observed to vary widely, yet it is unclear what constructive role, if any, such variations might play in immune signaling. Modeling efforts describing antigen discrimination often focus on steady-state approximations and do not account for the transient nature of cellular contacts. Within the framework of a kinetic proofreading (KP) mechanism, we develop a stochasticFirst Receptor Activation Model(FRAM) describing the likelihood that a productive immune signal is produced before the expiry of the contact. Through the use of extreme statistics, we characterize the probability that the first TCR triggering is induced by a rare agonist antigen and not by that of an abundant self-antigen. We show that defining positive immune outcomes as resilience to extreme statistics and sensitivity to rare events mitigates classic tradeoffs associated with KP. By choosing a sufficient number of KP steps, our model is able to yield single agonist sensitivity whilst remaining non-reactive to large populations of self antigen, even when self and agonist antigen are similar in dissociation rate to the TCR but differ largely in expression. Additionally, our model achieves high levels of accuracy even when agonist positive APCs encounters are rare. Finally, we discuss potential biological costs associated with high classification accuracy, particularly in challenging T cell environments.

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Award ID(s):
Author(s) / Creator(s):
Lavrik, Inna
Publisher / Repository:
Public library of science.
Date Published:
Journal Name:
PLOS Computational Biology
Page Range / eLocation ID:
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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