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Nat Immunol. 2011 May 22;12(7):647-54. doi: 10.1038/ni.2033.

A cascade of protein kinase C isozymes promotes cytoskeletal polarization in T cells.

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  • 1Immunology Program, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, New York, USA.


Polarization of the T cell microtubule-organizing center (MTOC) toward the antigen-presenting cell (APC) is driven by the accumulation of diacylglycerol (DAG) at the immunological synapse (IS). The mechanisms that couple DAG to the MTOC are not known. By single-cell photoactivation of the T cell antigen receptor (TCR), we found that three distinct isoforms of protein kinase C (PKC) were recruited by DAG to the IS in two steps. PKC-ɛ and PKC-η accumulated first in a broad region of membrane, whereas PKC-θ arrived later in a smaller zone. Functional experiments indicated that PKC-θ was required for MTOC reorientation and that PKC-ɛ and PKC-η operated redundantly to promote the recruitment of PKC-θ and subsequent polarization responses. Our results establish a previously uncharacterized role for PKC proteins in T cell polarity.

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