Research ArticleImmunology

Diacylglycerol kinase α establishes T cell polarity by shaping diacylglycerol accumulation at the immunological synapse

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Science Signaling  26 Aug 2014:
Vol. 7, Issue 340, pp. ra82
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.2005287

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Keeping a Lipid in the Zone

Activation of a T cell by an antigen-presenting cell depends on the formation of a contact zone between the cells called the immunological synapse. Intracellular components in the T cell, such as the Golgi and vesicles, then become repositioned (polarized) toward the immunological synapse so that they can be directed toward the contacting cell. Chauveau et al. used imaging techniques to show that the second messenger lipid DAG was focused at the center of the immunological synapse in a tight zone that was kept in place by a surrounding ring of DGK-α, an enzyme that metabolizes DAG. In T cells without DGK-α, DAG diffused from this confined space, and the resulting broad distribution of DAG led to poor polarization of the T cells.

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