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J Immunol. 2008 Jul 1;181(1):393-9.

Th1 and Th2 cells form morphologically distinct immunological synapses.

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Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology, Oregon Health and Science University, Portland, OR 97239, USA.


The arrangement of molecules at the interface between T cells and APCs is known as the immunological synapse (IS). We conducted experiments with supported planar bilayers and transfected fibroblast APC to examine the IS formed by polarized Th1 and Th2 cells. Th1 cells formed typical "bull's-eye" IS with a ring of adhesion molecules surrounding MHC/TCR interactions at all Ag concentrations tested, while Th2 cells formed multifocal IS at high concentrations of Ag. At low Ag concentrations, the majority of Th2 cells formed IS with a compact, central accumulation of MHC/TCR, but ICAM-1 was not excluded from the center of the IS. Additionally, CD45 was excluded from the center of the interface between Th1 cells and APC, while CD45 was found at the center of the multifocal IS formed by Th2 cells. Finally, phosphorylated signaling molecules colocalized with MHC/TCR to a greater extent in Th2 IS. Together, our results indicate that the IS formed by Th1 and Th2 cells are distinct in structure, with Th2 cells failing to form bull's-eye IS.

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