Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2009 Oct 20;106(42):17852-7. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0905384106. Epub 2009 Oct 12.

Immune synapse formation determines interaction forces between T cells and antigen-presenting cells measured by atomic force microscopy.

Author information

  • 1Department of New Materials and Biosystems, Max-Planck-Institute for Metals Research, Stuttgart, Germany.

Erratum in

  • Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2010 Feb 2;107(5):2373.


During adaptive immune responses, T lymphocytes recognize antigenic peptides presented by MHC molecules on antigen-presenting cells (APCs). This recognition results in the formation of a so-called immune synapse (IS) at the T-cell/APC interface, which is crucial for T-cell activation. The molecular composition of the IS has been extensively studied, but little is known about the biophysics and interaction forces between T cells and APCs. Here, we report the measurement of interaction forces between T cells and APCs employing atomic force microscopy (AFM). For these investigations, specific T cells were selected that recognize an antigenic peptide presented by MHC-class II molecules on APCs. Dynamic analysis of T-cell/APC interaction by AFM revealed that in the presence of antigen interaction forces increased from 1 to 2 nN at early time-points to a maximum of approximately 14 nN after 30 min and decreased again after 60 min. These data correlate with the kinetics of synapse formation that also reached a maximum after 30 min, as determined by high-throughput multispectral imaging flow cytometry. Because the integrin lymphocyte function antigen-1 (LFA-1) and its counterpart intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1) are prominent members of a mature IS, the effect of a small molecular inhibitor for LFA-1, BIRT377, was investigated. BIRT377 almost completely abolish the interaction forces, emphasizing the importance of LFA-1/ICAM-1-interactions for firm T-cell/APC adhesion. In conclusion, using biophysical measurements, this study provides precise values for the interaction forces between T cells and APCs and demonstrates that these forces develop over time and are highest when synapse formation is maximal.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk