Cell polarisation and the immunological synapse

Curr Opin Cell Biol. 2013 Feb;25(1):85-91. doi: 10.1016/j.ceb.2012.08.013. Epub 2012 Sep 16.


Directed secretion by immune cells requires formation of the immunological synapse at the site of cell-cell contact, concomitant with a dramatic induction of cell polarity. Recent findings provide us with insights into the various steps that are required for these processes: for example, the first identification of a protein at the centrosome that regulates its relocation to the plasma membrane; the use of super-resolution imaging techniques to reveal a residual actin network at the immunological synapse that may permit secretory granule exocytosis; and the drawing of parallels between primary cilia and IS architecture. Here we discuss these and other novel findings that have advanced our understanding of the complex process of immunological synapse formation and subsequent induced cell polarity in immune cells.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Actins / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Cell Membrane / metabolism
  • Cell Polarity*
  • Centrosome / metabolism
  • Cilia / immunology
  • Cilia / metabolism
  • Exocytosis / immunology
  • Immunological Synapses / metabolism*
  • Killer Cells, Natural / cytology
  • Killer Cells, Natural / immunology
  • Killer Cells, Natural / metabolism
  • Secretory Vesicles / metabolism
  • T-Lymphocytes, Cytotoxic / cytology
  • T-Lymphocytes, Cytotoxic / immunology
  • T-Lymphocytes, Cytotoxic / metabolism


  • Actins