After the Signal's Gone, What's Left?

Science's STKE  26 Feb 2002:
Vol. 2002, Issue 121, pp. tw80
DOI: 10.1126/stke.2002.121.tw80

T cells are stimulated into action when they associate with other immune cells that present them with specific antigens. An intercellular synapse facilitates this intimate encounter and a prolonged engagement is thought to be required for T cell activation. Lee et al. (see the Perspective by van der Merwe and Davis) in fact show that signaling through the T cell receptor has abated by the time a mature immunological synapse has formed. The center of the mature synapse may not function as a supramolecular signaling complex as previously thought, which raises new questions about the function of this specialized and dynamic structure.

K.-H. Lee, A. D. Holdorf, M. L. Dustin, A. C. Chan, P. M. Allen, A. S. Shaw, T cell receptor signaling precedes immunological synapse formation. Science 295, 1539-1542 (2002). [Abstract] [Full Text]

P. A. van der Merwe, S. J. Davis, The immunological synapse--a multitasking system. Science 295, 1479-1480 (2002). [Full Text]