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Nat Immunol. 2004 Mar;5(3):272-9. Epub 2004 Feb 1.

ERM proteins regulate cytoskeleton relaxation promoting T cell-APC conjugation.

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Institut Cochin, Département de Biologie Cellulaire, Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale U567/Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique UMR 8104, Université René Descartes, 22 rue Méchain, 75014 Paris, France.


During activation, T cells associate with antigen-presenting cells, a dynamic process that involves the formation of a broad area of intimate membrane contact known as the immunological synapse. The molecular intermediates that link initial antigen recognition to the cytoskeletal changes involved in this phenomenon have not yet been defined. Here we demonstrate that ezrin-radixin-moesin proteins are rapidly inactivated after antigen recognition through a Vav1-Rac1 pathway. The resulting disanchoring of the cortical actin cytoskeleton from the plasma membrane decreased cellular rigidity, leading to more efficient T cell-antigen-presenting cell conjugate formation. These findings identify an antigen-dependent molecular pathway that favors immunological synapse formation and the subsequent development of an effective immune response.

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