Cytoskeletal actin dynamics is essential for T cell activation. Here, we show evidence that the binding kinetics of the antigen engaging the T cell receptor influences the nanoscale actin organization and mechanics of the immune synapse. Using an engineered T cell system expressing a specific T cell receptor and stimulated by a range of antigens, we found that the peak force experienced by the T cell receptor during activation was independent of the unbinding kinetics of the stimulating antigen. Conversely, quantification of the actin retrograde flow velocity at the synapse revealed a striking dependence on the antigen unbinding kinetics. These findings suggest that the dynamics of the actin cytoskeleton actively adjusted to normalize the force experienced by the T cell receptor in an antigen-specific manner. Consequently, tuning actin dynamics in response to antigen kinetics may thus be a mechanism that allows T cells to adjust the lengthscale and timescale of T cell receptor signaling.
Keywords: T cell activation; TCR cluster; TFM; actin dynamics; immunological synapse; mechanosensation; mechanosensitivity.
Copyright © 2019 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.