TCR signaling requirements for activating T cells and for generating memory

Cell Mol Life Sci. 2012 May;69(10):1565-75. doi: 10.1007/s00018-012-0965-x. Epub 2012 Apr 19.


Over the last two decades the molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying T cell activation, expansion, differentiation, and memory formation have been intensively investigated. These studies revealed that the generation of memory T cells is critically impacted by a number of factors, including the magnitude of the inflammatory response and cytokine production, the type of dendritic cell [DC] that presents the pathogen derived antigen, their maturation status, and the concomitant provision of costimulation. Nevertheless, the primary stimulus leading to T cell activation is generated through the T cell receptor [TCR] following its engagement with a peptide MHC ligand [pMHC]. The purpose of this review is to highlight classical and recent findings on how antigen recognition, the degree of TCR stimulation, and intracellular signal transduction pathways impact the formation of effector and memory T cells.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Immunologic Memory*
  • Lymphocyte Activation*
  • Major Histocompatibility Complex / physiology
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction*
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology*


  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell