Formation of TCR dimers/trimers as a crucial step for T cell activation.
Bachmann MF., Salzmann M., Oxenius A., Ohashi PS.
T cell activation involves specific interactions between the TCR and peptides presented by the MHC. This engagement leads to phosphorylation and subsequent internalization of the TCR complex. By analyzing the kinetics of the internalization of TCR, we found that the rate of TCR down-regulation was proportional to the square of the TCR density. Mathematical modeling of TCR interactions indicates that such a relation is only possible if TCR dimerize before internalization. By mathematical analysis, our data would also be compatible with trimer but not larger oligomer formation. Thus, minimal TCR oligomerization is an essential step for peptide-mediated T cell activation.