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Immunity. 2000 Sep;13(3):323-32.

Antigen presentation in extracellular matrix: interactions of T cells with dendritic cells are dynamic, short lived, and sequential.

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Department of Dermatology, University of Würzburg, Germany.


Cognate interactions of naive T cells with antigen-presenting dendritic cells require physical cell-cell contacts leading to signal induction and T cell activation. Using a three-dimensional collagen matrix videomicroscopy model for ovalbumin peptide-specific activation of murine and oxidative mitogenesis of human T cells, we show that T cells maintain vigorous migration upon cognate interactions to DC (dendritic cell), continuously crawl across the DC surface, and rapidly detach (median within 6-12 min). These dynamic and short-lived encounters favor sequential contacts with the same or other DC and trigger calcium influx, upregulation of activation markers, T blast formation, and proliferation. We conclude that a tissue environment supports the accumulation of sequential signals, implicating a numeric or "digital" control mechanism for an ongoing primary immune response.

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