Cell adhesion molecules and actin cytoskeleton at immune synapses and kinapses

Curr Opin Cell Biol. 2007 Oct;19(5):529-33. doi: 10.1016/j.ceb.2007.08.003. Epub 2007 Oct 17.


The immunological synapse is a stable adhesive junction between a polarized immune effector cell and an antigen-bearing cell. Immunological synapses are often observed to have a striking radial symmetry in the plane of contact with a prominent central cluster of antigen receptors surrounded by concentric rings of adhesion molecules and actin-rich projections. There is a striking similarity between the radial zones of the immunological synapse and the dynamic actinomyosin modules employed by migrating cells. Breaking the symmetry of an immunological synapse generates a moving adhesive junction that can be defined as a kinapse, which facilitates signal integration by immune cells while moving over the surface of antigen-presenting cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Actins / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Apoptosis Regulatory Proteins
  • Cell Adhesion / physiology*
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules / metabolism*
  • Cell Communication / physiology*
  • Cytoskeleton / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins / metabolism
  • Lymphocyte Activation
  • Mitochondrial Proteins / metabolism
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell / metabolism
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell / ultrastructure
  • Signal Transduction / physiology
  • T-Lymphocytes / cytology
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology*


  • Actins
  • Apoptosis Regulatory Proteins
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules
  • DIABLO protein, human
  • Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • Mitochondrial Proteins
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell