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Immunity. 1998 Jun;8(6):723-32.

Membrane compartmentation is required for efficient T cell activation.

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Department of Molecular Biology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston 02114, USA.


The plasma membrane of mammalian cells contains detergent-resistant membrane rafts enriched in glycosphingolipids and cholesterol. Although several important signaling molecules have been found in such rafts, evidence documenting a functional role for their localization has been scarce. Using a fractionation scheme that preserves tyrosine phosphorylation, we show that T cell activation leads to a striking compartmentation in the rafts of activated T cell receptor and associated signal-transducing molecules. Conditions that reversibly disrupt raft structure either by dispersing their contents or by forcing their internalization reversibly disrupt the earliest steps of T cell activation. Thus, raft integrity is a prerequisite for efficient T cell receptor signal transduction.

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