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Annu Rev Immunol. 2008;26:585-626. doi: 10.1146/annurev.immunol.24.021605.090620.

Choreography of cell motility and interaction dynamics imaged by two-photon microscopy in lymphoid organs.

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  • 1Department of Physiology and Biophysics, University of California, Irvine, California 92697, USA.


The immune system is the most diffuse cellular system in the body. Accordingly, long-range migration of cells and short-range communication by local chemical signaling and by cell-cell contacts are vital to the control of an immune response. Cellular homing and migration within lymphoid organs, antigen recognition, and cell signaling and activation are clearly vital during an immune response, but these events had not been directly observed in vivo until recently. Introduced to the field of immunology in 2002, two-photon microscopy is the method of choice for visualizing living cells deep within native tissue environments, and it is now revealing an elegant cellular choreography that underlies the adaptive immune response to antigen challenge. We review cellular dynamics and molecular factors that contribute to basal motility of lymphocytes in the lymph node and cellular interactions leading to antigen capture and recognition, T cell activation, B cell activation, cytolytic effector function, and antibody production.

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