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Immunol Lett. 2006 Apr 15;104(1-2):59-69. Epub 2005 Dec 19.

Cholesterol and sphingolipids as lipid organizers of the immune cells' plasma membrane: their impact on the functions of MHC molecules, effector T-lymphocytes and T-cell death.

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Institute of Biology, Department of Immunology, Eötvös Lorand University, Budapest, Hungary.


The possible regulatory mechanisms by which glycosphingolipid- and cholesterol-rich membrane microdomains, caveolar and non-caveolar lipid rafts, control the immune response are continuously expanding. In the present overview we will focus on how these membrane-organizing lipids are involved, in collaboration with tetraspanin proteins, in the formation of distinct MHC-I and MHC-II microdomains at the cell surface and will analyze the possible roles of MHC compartmentation in the processes of antigen presentation and regulation of various stages of the cellular immune response. Some basic, lipid raft- and tetraspan mediated mechanisms involved in the formation and function of immunological synapses between various APCs and T-cells will also be discussed. Finally, a new aspect of immune regulation by sphingolipids will be briefly described, namely how can the death or stress signals, leading to ceramide accumulation, result in raft-associated regulatory platforms controlling cell death or antigen-induced, TCRmediated signaling of T-lymphocytes. The influence of these signals and their cross-talk on the fate (death or survival) of T-cells and the outcome of T-cell response will also be discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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