Signal Transduction Mediated by the T Cell Antigen Receptor: The Role of Adapter Proteins

Annu Rev Immunol. 2002;20:371-94. doi: 10.1146/annurev.immunol.20.092601.111357. Epub 2001 Oct 4.


Engagement of the T cell antigen receptor (TCR) leads to a complex series of molecular changes at the plasma membrane, in the cytoplasm, and at the nucleus that lead ultimately to T cell effector function. Activation at the TCR of a set of protein tyrosine kinases (PTKs) is an early event in this process. This chapter reviews some of the critical substrates of these PTKs, the adapter proteins that, following phosphorylation on tyrosine residues, serve as binding sites for many of the critical effector enzymes and other adapter proteins required for T cell activation. The role of these adapters in binding various proteins, the interaction of adapters with plasma membrane microdomains, and the function of adapter proteins in control of the cytoskeleton are discussed.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing*
  • Animals
  • Carrier Proteins / immunology
  • Cytoskeleton / immunology
  • Humans
  • Isoenzymes / immunology
  • Lymphocyte Activation
  • Membrane Microdomains / immunology
  • Membrane Proteins*
  • Models, Immunological
  • Phospholipase C gamma
  • Phosphoproteins / immunology
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Type C Phospholipases / immunology


  • Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing
  • Carrier Proteins
  • Isoenzymes
  • LAT protein, human
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Phosphoproteins
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell
  • Type C Phospholipases
  • Phospholipase C gamma