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The specialized junction between a T lymphocyte and an antigen-presenting cell, the immunological synapse, consists of a central cluster of T cell receptors surrounded by a ring of adhesion molecules. Immunological synapse formation is now shown to be an active and dynamic mechanism that allows T cells to distinguish potential antigenic ligands. Initially, T cell receptor ligands were engaged in an outermost ring of the nascent synapse. Transport of these complexes into the central cluster was dependent on T cell receptor-ligand interaction kinetics. Finally, formation of a stable central cluster at the heart of the synapse was a determinative event for T cell proliferation.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





221 - 227


Animals, Antigen-Presenting Cells, CD4 Antigens, CHO Cells, Cell Movement, Cricetinae, Cytochrome c Group, Fluorescence, Histocompatibility Antigens, Intercellular Adhesion Molecule-1, Ligands, Lipid Bilayers, Lymphocyte Activation, Mice, Mice, Transgenic, Microscopy, Interference, Models, Immunological, Peptides, Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, Signal Transduction, T-Lymphocytes, Time Factors