|MadSci Network: Immunology|
Hello Tim, To the best of my knowledge, there are no organelles (structures inside the cell) that are unique to T cells. T cells do have some unique (or mostly unique) functions. For example, cytolytic T cells (called CTL) make up most of the cells in the body that are capable of lysing (rupturing) other cells. These cells capable of killing other cells (which also include natural killer cells) store their toxins in secretory vesicles when they are activated and preparing to actually kill other cells. These secretory vesicles are little membrane enclosures inside the cells that contain anything the cell is secreting or storing for future secretion. In general, the function of CTL is to find virally infected cells and kill them before they can produce new virus by releasing these toxins (mostly perforin, which is a protein that will make holes in the target cell). However, secretory vesicles are by no means unique to T cells. For example, neurons keep a large store of neurotransmittors in vesicles at the cell membrane for release to propogate nerve signals to the next nerve. Some endocrine cells keep the hormones that they secrete in vesicles for ready use. Many other cell types have this capability to release the contents of prepared secretory vessicles very quickly after a signal and almost all cells have the capability to secrete particular proteins right after they are synthesized. Jeff Dorfman firstname.lastname@example.org
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