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Nat Immunol. 2006 Oct;7(10):1101-8. Epub 2006 Sep 10.

Surface-bound chemokines capture and prime T cells for synapse formation.

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The Department of Pathology, University of California at San Francisco, San Francisco, California 94143, USA.

Erratum in

  • Nat Immunol. 2006 Nov;7(11):1234.


T cell activation in vivo occurs in a lymphoid milieu that presents chemotactic and T cell receptor signals concurrently. Here we demonstrate that T cell zone chemokines such as CCL21 are bound to the surface of lymph node dendritic cells. Contact with antigen-presenting cells bearing chemokines costimulated T cells by a previously unknown two-step contact mechanism. T cells initially formed an antigen-independent 'tethered' adhesion on chemokine-bearing antigen-presenting cells. The formation of those tethers superseded T cell receptor signaling and immunological synapse formation. However, chemokine-tethered T cells were hyper-responsive to subsequent contacts with antigen-presenting cells. Thus, T cells are costimulated 'in trans' and sequentially after initial engagement with their chemokine-rich environment.

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