T-cell antigen receptor triggering and lipid rafts: a matter of space and time scales. Talking Point on the involvement of lipid rafts in T-cell activation

EMBO Rep. 2008 Jun;9(6):525-30. doi: 10.1038/embor.2008.78.


T-cell antigen receptor triggering mechanisms and lipid rafts are of broad interest, but are also controversial topics. Here, we review some recent progress in these two research fields, which has been accomplished mostly in live cells and with the use of advanced technologies. We then discuss the potential relationship between membrane-domain organization and T-cell antigen receptor-triggering mechanisms. On the basis of the relevant experimental observations, we argue that the key to achieving a better understanding of both processes is the ability to monitor the molecular dynamics and interactions taking place in the membrane of T cells at a spatial scale of tens to hundreds of nanometres, with a subsecond-to-second temporal resolution.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Diffusion
  • Humans
  • Lymphocyte Activation*
  • Membrane Lipids / chemistry
  • Membrane Lipids / metabolism
  • Membrane Microdomains / chemistry
  • Membrane Microdomains / metabolism*
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction / physiology
  • T-Lymphocytes / cytology
  • T-Lymphocytes / physiology*
  • Time Factors


  • Membrane Lipids
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell