A dynamic view of the immunological synapse

Semin Immunol. 2005 Dec;17(6):400-10. doi: 10.1016/j.smim.2005.09.002. Epub 2005 Nov 2.


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.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigen-Presenting Cells / cytology*
  • Antigen-Presenting Cells / immunology
  • Antigen-Presenting Cells / metabolism
  • Cell Movement / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Immunologic Capping*
  • Lymphocyte Activation*
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence, Multiphoton
  • Signal Transduction / immunology
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • T-Lymphocytes / metabolism