What counts in the immunological synapse?

Mol Cell. 2014 Apr 24;54(2):255-62. doi: 10.1016/j.molcel.2014.04.001.


Molecular interactions at the interface between helper T cells and antigen-presenting B cells govern the ability to produce specific antibodies, which is a central event in protective immunity generated by natural infection or man-made vaccines. In order for a T cell to deliver effective help to a B cell and guide affinity maturation, it needs to provide feedback that is proportional to the amount of antigen the B cell collects with its surface antibody. This review focuses on mechanisms by which T and B cells manage to count the products of antigen capture and encourage B cells with the best receptors to dominate the response and make antibody-producing plasma cells. We discuss what is known about the proportionality of T cells responses to presented antigens and consider the mechanisms that B cells may use to keep count of positive feedback from T cells.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Antigen Presentation
  • Asymmetric Cell Division
  • B-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Cell Membrane / immunology
  • Exosomes / immunology
  • Major Histocompatibility Complex / immunology
  • Models, Immunological
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell / immunology
  • T-Lymphocytes, Helper-Inducer / immunology*


  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell