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Eur J Immunol. 2000 Jan;30(1):50-8.

TCR antagonist peptides induce formation of APC-T cell conjugates and activate a Rac signaling pathway.

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La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology, San Diego, USA.


T cell receptor antagonists inhibit T cell activation by antigen, and by themselves fail to induce phenotypic changes associated with T cell activation. However, they can induce limited tyrosine phosphorylation of TCRzeta chain. Here we show that TCR antagonists are potent inducers of APC-T cell conjugates, cytoskeletal reorganization, and capping of certain T cell proteins. These events are associated with a signaling pathway involving tyrosine phosphorylation of Vav and SLP-76, activation and capping of Rac-1, a protein previously linked with cytoskeletal reorganization, and activation of JNK. The finding that antagonist peptides stimulate this pathway, while failing to stimulate other TCR-mediated signaling pathways, indicates the presence in T cells of a hierarchy of signaling that is sensitive to the avidity of Ag / MHC-TCR interaction.

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