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Nat Rev Immunol. 2009 Aug;9(8):543-55. doi: 10.1038/nri2602. Epub 2009 Jul 17.

Mechanisms and functions for the duration of intercellular contacts made by lymphocytes.

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Division of Cell and Molecular Biology, Sir Alexander Fleming Building, Imperial College London, South Kensington, London, SW7 2AZ, UK.


Communication across intercellular contacts is central to establishing appropriate innate and adaptive immune responses. Recent imaging of lymphocyte interactions suggests that a complex orchestration of cell-cell contact times is a key correlate to establishing appropriate immune responses. Here I review the molecular and cellular processes that influence the duration of intercellular contacts, including integrin activation and dynamic changes in membrane morphology. I discuss how these processes can be regulated, for example, by the balance of activating and inhibitory receptor signals, and how they can establish the appropriate outcome for individual cell-cell interactions.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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