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Science. 2003 Nov 14;302(5648):1218-22. Epub 2003 Sep 25.

The immunological synapse balances T cell receptor signaling and degradation.

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  • 1Department of Pathology and Immunology, Washington University School of Medicine, Box 8118, 660 South Euclid, Saint Louis, MO 63110, USA.


The immunological synapse is a specialized cell-cell junction between T cell and antigen-presenting cell surfaces. It is characterized by a central cluster of antigen receptors, a ring of integrin family adhesion molecules, and temporal stability over hours. The role of this specific organization in signaling for T cell activation has been controversial. We use in vitro and in silico experiments to determine that the immunological synapse acts as a type of adaptive controller that both boosts T cell receptor triggering and attenuates strong signals.

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