A dynamic view of the immunological synapse.
T cell activation requires interactions of T cell antigen receptors (TCR) and peptides presented by major histocompatibility complex molecules (MHCp) in an adhesive junction between the T cell and antigen-presenting cell. Stable junctions with bull's eye supramolecular activation clusters (SMACs) 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 hemi-synapses (HS) that allow migration during signal integration. IS and HS operate in different stages of T cell priming. Optimal effector functions may also depend upon cyclical use of IS and HS.