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Spatial organization of signaling complexes is a defining characteristic of the immunological synapse (IS), but its impact on cell communication is unclear. In T cell-APC pairs, more IL-2 is produced when CD28 clusters are segregated from central supramolecular activation cluster (cSMAC)-localized CD3 and into the IS periphery. However, it is not clear in these cellular experiments whether the increased IL-2 is driven by the pattern itself or by upstream events that precipitate the patterns. In this article, we recapitulate key features of physiological synapses using planar costimulation arrays containing antibodies against CD3 and CD28, surrounded by ICAM-1, created by combining multiple rounds of microcontact printing on a single surface. Naïve T cells traverse these arrays, stopping at features of anti-CD3 antibodies and forming a stable synapse. We directly demonstrate that presenting anti-CD28 in the cell periphery, surrounding an anti-CD3 feature, enhances IL-2 secretion by naïve CD4(+) T cells compared with having these signals combined in the center of the IS. This increased cytokine production correlates with NF-kappaB translocation and requires PKB/Akt signaling. The ability to arbitrarily and independently control the locations of anti-CD3 and anti-CD28 offered the opportunity to examine patterns not precisely attainable in cell-cell interfaces. With these patterns, we show that the peripheral presentation of CD28 has a larger impact on IL-2 secretion than CD3 colocalization/segregation.

Original publication




Journal article


Proc natl acad sci u s a

Publication Date





7791 - 7796


Animals, Antibodies, Antigen-Presenting Cells, CD28 Antigens, CD3 Complex, CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes, Cell Communication, Intercellular Adhesion Molecule-1, Interleukin-2, Isoenzymes, Ligands, Lymphocyte Activation, Mice, Mice, Inbred C57BL, NF-kappa B, Protein Kinase C, Protein Kinase C-theta, Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt, Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell