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Semin Immunol. 2000 Feb;12(1):5-21.

Cytoskeletal polarization and redistribution of cell-surface molecules during T cell antigen recognition.

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Sir William Dunn School of Pathology, University of Oxford, UK.


T cell antigen recognition is accompanied by cytoskeletal polarization towards the APC and large-scale redistribution of cell surface molecules into 'supramolecular activation clusters' (SMACs), forming an organized contact interface termed the 'immunological synapse' (IS). Molecules are arranged in the IS in a micrometer scale bull's eye pattern with a central accumulation of TCR/peptide-MHC (the cSMAC) surrounded by a peripheral ring of adhesion molecules (the pSMAC). We propose that segregation of cell surface molecules on a much smaller scale initiates TCR triggering, which drives the formation of the IS by active transport processes. IS formation may function as a checkpoint for full T cell activation, integrating information on the presence and quality of TCR ligands and the nature and activation state of the APC.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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