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Heterogeneity in the supramolecular organization of immunological synapses arises from the involvement of different cells, distinct environmental stimuli, and varying levels of protein expression. There may also be heterogeneity in the types and amounts of cell surface proteins and lipids that transfer between lymphocytes during immune surveillance. In addition, immune cells can be involved in the assembly of a 'viral synapse', such that micrometer-scale organization of proteins at intercellular contacts occurs during transmission of a virus between T cells. Thus, while there may be unity in molecular mechanisms underlying the organization of cell surface receptors at immune cell synapses, there is diversity in their function.

Original publication




Journal article


Semin Immunol

Publication Date





317 - 324


Animals, Cell Communication, Humans, Immunologic Surveillance, Intercellular Junctions, Lymphocyte Activation, Models, Immunological, Receptors, Immunologic, Signal Transduction, T-Lymphocytes, Viruses