Impact of the immunological synapse on T cell signaling.
T cell activation requires interactions of T cell antigen receptors and peptides presented by major histocompatibility complex molecules in an adhesive junction between the T cell and antigen-presenting cell (APC). Stable junctions with bull's-eye supramolecular activation clusters have been defined as immunological synapses (IS). These structures maintain T cell-APC interaction and allow directed secretion. T cells can also be activated by asymmetric hemisynapses (HS) that allow migration during signal integration. IS and HS dominate in different stages of T cell priming. Optimal effector functions may also depend upon cyclical use of IS and HS.