ReviewDendritic Cells

What Is the Function of the Dendritic Cell Side of the Immunological Synapse?

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Sci. Signal.  19 Jan 2010:
Vol. 3, Issue 105, pp. re2
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.3105re2

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The adaptive immune response requires the formation of a specialized interface called the immunological synapse (IS), which is formed between a mature dendritic cell (DC) and a CD4+ T cell in the lymph node. The IS involves organized motifs formed by cell-surface and cytoplasmic molecules at both the DC side (IS-DC) and the T cell side (IS-T) of the IS. Most studies of the functions of the IS have focused on the IS-T; however, to understand the function(s) of the entire IS, it is also necessary to gain insight into the role(s) of the IS-DC. Unlike T cells, which upon their activation leave the lymph node and return to the circulation, DCs largely become apoptotic and die in the node region. This latter observation and the known stability of the IS, which may last for hours, is consistent with the hypothesis that one of the functions of the IS-DC could be the temporal inhibition of the apoptosis of DCs, which would enable the activation of clonal T cells in the lymph nodes. Here, we discuss experimental data supporting the latter hypothesis, as well as the concept that the IS-DC is a signaling region that contributes to the functions of the IS.

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