Research Article

The Immunological Synapse: A Molecular Machine Controlling T Cell Activation

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Science  09 Jul 1999:
Vol. 285, Issue 5425, pp. 221-227
DOI: 10.1126/science.285.5425.221

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Abstract

The specialized junction between a T lymphocyte and an antigen-presenting cell, the immunological synapse, consists of a central cluster of T cell receptors surrounded by a ring of adhesion molecules. Immunological synapse formation is now shown to be an active and dynamic mechanism that allows T cells to distinguish potential antigenic ligands. Initially, T cell receptor ligands were engaged in an outermost ring of the nascent synapse. Transport of these complexes into the central cluster was dependent on T cell receptor–ligand interaction kinetics. Finally, formation of a stable central cluster at the heart of the synapse was a determinative event for T cell proliferation.

  • * To whom correspondence should be addressed at the Department of Pathology, Washington University School of Medicine, 660 South Euclid Avenue, Campus Box 8118, St. Louis, MO 63110, USA. E-mail: dustin{at}immunology.wustl.edu

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