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T cell activation and function require a structured engagement of antigen-presenting cells. These cell contacts are characterized by two distinct dynamics in vivo: transient contacts resulting from promigratory junctions called immunological kinapses or prolonged contacts from stable junctions called immunological synapses. Kinapses operate in the steady state to allow referencing to self-peptide-MHC (pMHC) and searching for pathogen-derived pMHC. Synapses are induced by T cell receptor (TCR) interactions with agonist pMHC under specific conditions and correlate with robust immune responses that generate effector and memory T cells. High-resolution imaging has revealed that the synapse is highly coordinated, integrating cell adhesion, TCR recognition of pMHC complexes, and an array of activating and inhibitory ligands to promote or prevent T cell signaling. In this review, we examine the molecular components, geometry, and timing underlying kinapses and synapses. We integrate recent molecular and physiological data to provide a synthesis and suggest ways forward.

Original publication

DOI

10.1146/annurev-immunol-030409-101308

Type

Journal

Annu Rev Immunol

Publication Date

2010

Volume

28

Pages

79 - 105

Keywords

Animals, Cell Communication, Humans, Immunological Synapses, Lymphocyte Activation, Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, Signal Transduction, T-Lymphocytes