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The immunological synapse is a stable adhesive junction between a polarized immune effector cell and an antigen-bearing cell. Immunological synapses are often observed to have a striking radial symmetry in the plane of contact with a prominent central cluster of antigen receptors surrounded by concentric rings of adhesion molecules and actin-rich projections. There is a striking similarity between the radial zones of the immunological synapse and the dynamic actinomyosin modules employed by migrating cells. Breaking the symmetry of an immunological synapse generates a moving adhesive junction that can be defined as a kinapse, which facilitates signal integration by immune cells while moving over the surface of antigen-presenting cells.

Original publication




Journal article


Current opinion in cell biology

Publication Date





529 - 533


Program in Molecular Pathogenesis, Helen L. and Martin S. Kimmel Center for Biology and Medicine of the Skirball Institute of Biomolecular Medicine, New York University School of Medicine, New York, NY 10016, United States.


T-Lymphocytes, Cytoskeleton, Animals, Humans, Actins, Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins, Cell Adhesion Molecules, Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, Mitochondrial Proteins, Lymphocyte Activation, Cell Adhesion, Cell Communication, Signal Transduction