Composition and structure of synaptic ectosomes exporting antigen receptor linked to functional CD40 ligand from helper T cells

Elife. 2019 Aug 30;8:e47528. doi: 10.7554/eLife.47528.


Planar supported lipid bilayers (PSLB) presenting T cell receptor (TCR) ligands and ICAM-1 induce budding of extracellular microvesicles enriched in functional TCR, defined here as synaptic ectosomes (SE), from helper T cells. SE bind peptide-MHC directly exporting TCR into the synaptic cleft, but incorporation of other effectors is unknown. Here, we utilized bead supported lipid bilayers (BSLB) to capture SE from single immunological synapses (IS), determined SE composition by immunofluorescence flow cytometry and enriched SE for proteomic analysis by particle sorting. We demonstrate selective enrichment of CD40L and ICOS in SE in response to addition of CD40 and ICOSL, respectively, to SLB presenting TCR ligands and ICAM-1. SE are enriched in tetraspanins, BST-2, TCR signaling and ESCRT proteins. Super-resolution microscopy demonstrated that CD40L is present in microclusters within CD81 defined SE that are spatially segregated from TCR/ICOS/BST-2. CD40L+ SE retain the capacity to induce dendritic cell maturation and cytokine production.

Keywords: CD40L; CRISPR/Cas9; ICOS; extracellular vesicles; human; immune synapse; immunology; inflammation; tetraspanins.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • CD40 Ligand / analysis*
  • Cell-Derived Microparticles / chemistry*
  • Cell-Derived Microparticles / metabolism*
  • Cytokines / metabolism
  • Dendritic Cells / drug effects
  • Dendritic Cells / metabolism
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique
  • Humans
  • Proteome / analysis
  • Receptors, Antigen / analysis*
  • T-Lymphocytes, Helper-Inducer / metabolism*


  • Cytokines
  • Proteome
  • Receptors, Antigen
  • CD40 Ligand