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T Cell Protocols: Development and Activation.
  1. P Moss

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    Kearse KP, ed. ($99.50.) Humana Press, 1999. ISBN 0 89603 810 6.

    This book is part of the “Methods in Molecular Biology” series and focuses on two main areas: thymic education and T cell signalling.

    The book gets off to a lively start from the editor who states that the motivation behind the project was the desire to create a valued reference book of the style that he experienced as a graduate student. It is possible that he may have succeeded—but for a rather limited audience.

    The author list is impressive and one excellent feature of the book is the inclusion of two reviews to introduce the main sections. These are lucid and the review of T cell development using transgenic and knockout mice is extremely comprehensive.

    There are 27 technical chapters that focus on experimental techniques with clear and annotated recipes. The choice of subject for these is necessarily rather arbitrary and some are quite esoteric. Nevetheless, if issues such as “analysis of CD4/8 lineage commitment by pronase treatment and reexpression assay” are what you want then you will not be disappointed.

    The second section is concerned with details of T cell signal transduction. The introduction by John O'Shea is extremely readable and serves as a gentle aperitif to some heavyweight techniques.

    Techniques books are notoriously vulnerable to a short shelf life as a result of technical advances but the book appears referenced to 1998. As a human immunologist I felt somewhat marginalised by the murine bias in the book. Nevertheless, the volume is scholarly and has many useful tips. It is definitely worth at least a look for those with laboratory interests in the two main areas of interest. General immunologists need not apply.

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