Adapters in the organization of mast cell signaling

Immunol Rev. 2009 Nov;232(1):195-217. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-065X.2009.00834.x.


Mast cells are pivotal in innate immunity and play an important role in amplifying adaptive immunity. Nonetheless, they have long been known to be central to the initiation of allergic disorders. This results from the dysregulation of the immune response whereby normally innocuous substances are recognized as non-self, resulting in the production of IgE antibodies to these 'allergens'. Preformed and newly synthesized inflammatory (allergic) mediators are released from the mast cell following allergen-mediated aggregation of allergen-specific IgE bound to the high-affinity receptors for IgE (FcepsilonRI). Thus, the process by which the mast cell is able to interpret the engagement of FcepsilonRI into the molecular events necessary for release of their allergic mediators is of considerable therapeutic interest. Unraveling these molecular events has led to the discovery of a functional class of proteins that are essential in organizing activated signaling molecules and in coordinating and compartmentalizing their activity. These so-called 'adapters' bind multiple signaling proteins and localize them to specific cellular compartments, such as the plasma membrane. This organization is essential for normal mast cell responses. Here, we summarize the role of adapter proteins in mast cells focusing on the most recent advances toward understanding how these molecules work upon FcepsilonRI engagement.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing / immunology
  • Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing / metabolism*
  • Allergens / immunology
  • Allergens / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Hypersensitivity, Immediate / immunology*
  • Immunity, Innate
  • Inflammation Mediators / metabolism
  • Mast Cells / cytology
  • Mast Cells / immunology
  • Mast Cells / metabolism*
  • Protein Multimerization / immunology
  • Receptors, IgE / immunology
  • Receptors, IgE / metabolism*
  • Self Tolerance
  • Signal Transduction / immunology


  • Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing
  • Allergens
  • Inflammation Mediators
  • Receptors, IgE