T cell activation and the cytoskeleton

Annu Rev Immunol. 2000;18:165-84. doi: 10.1146/annurev.immunol.18.1.165.


Ligation of the T cell antigen receptor (TCR) stimulates protein tyrosine kinases (PTKs), which regulate intracellular calcium and control the activity of protein kinase C (PKC) isozymes. PTKs activated by antigen receptors and costimulatory molecules also couple to phosphatidylinositol-3 kinase (PI3K) and control the activity of Ras- and Rho-family GTPases. T cell signal transduction is triggered physiologically by antigen in the context of antigen presenting cells (APC). The formation of stable and prolonged contacts between T cells and APCs is not necessary to initiate T cell signaling but is required for effective T cell proliferation and differentiation. The stabilization of the T cell/ APC conjugate is regulated by intracellular signals induced by antigen receptors and costimulators. These coordinate the regulation of the actin and microtubule cytoskeleton and organize a specialized signaling zone that allows sustained TCR signaling.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cytoskeleton / immunology
  • Humans
  • Lymphocyte Activation / immunology
  • Protein-Tyrosine Kinases / immunology*
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell / immunology*
  • Signal Transduction / immunology*
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology*


  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell
  • Protein-Tyrosine Kinases