Send to

Choose Destination
Immunity. 2011 Sep 23;35(3):375-87. doi: 10.1016/j.immuni.2011.08.010. Epub 2011 Sep 8.

Increased sensitivity of antigen-experienced T cells through the enrichment of oligomeric T cell receptor complexes.

Author information

Departamento de Biología Celular e Inmunología, Centro Biología Molecular Severo Ochoa, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, 28049 Madrid, Spain.


Although memory T cells respond more vigorously to stimulation and they are more sensitive to low doses of antigen than naive T cells, the molecular basis of this increased sensitivity remains unclear. We have previously shown that the T cell receptor (TCR) exists as different-sized oligomers on the surface of resting T cells and that large oligomers are preferentially activated in response to low antigen doses. Through biochemistry and electron microscopy, we now showed that previously stimulated and memory T cells have more and larger TCR oligomers at the cell surface than their naive counterparts. Reconstitution of cells and mice with a point mutant of the CD3ζ subunit, which impairs TCR oligomer formation, demonstrated that the increased size of TCR oligomers was directly responsible for the increased sensitivity of antigen-experienced T cells. Thus, we propose that an "avidity maturation" mechanism underlies T cell antigenic memory.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center