Signal Amplification Hotspots in T Cells

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Submitted by Sudha Kumari (Irvine Lab, KI at MIT) and Michael Cammer (NYU School of Medicine)

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T cell are specialized and sensitive immune cells, that sense foreign proteins (antigen) in the body, get activated and then play variety of roles in producing effective immune response.  I am interested in signal amplification process in T cells, and how the actin cytoskeleton regulates it.

The image shows T cell skeleton that serves as ‘signal amplification hotspot’ when cells are sensing antigens (‘patches’ in the center of left image). Treatment of T cells to remove these hotspots specifically (right image) results in defective T cell activation, even though antigen is present. The pseudocolors reflect on the shape of the contact interface of the cell with the antigenic surface (not shown).  Blue is closest to the antigenic surface and red is farthest.