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T cell receptor (TCR) signaling is initiated and sustained in microclusters; however, it's not known whether signaling also occurs in the TCR-rich central supramolecular activation cluster (cSMAC). We showed that the cSMAC formed by fusion of microclusters contained more CD45 than microclusters and is a site enriched in lysobisphosphatidic acid, a lipid involved in sorting ubiquitinated membrane proteins for degradation. Calcium signaling via TCR was blocked within 2 min by anti-MHCp treatment and 1 min by latrunculin-A treatment. TCR-MHCp interactions in the cSMAC survived these perturbations for 10 min and hence were not sufficient to sustain signaling. TCR microclusters were also resistant to disruption by anti-MHCp and latrunculin-A treatments. We propose that TCR signaling is sustained by stabilized microclusters and is terminated in the cSMAC, a structure from which TCR are sorted for degradation. Our studies reveal a role for F-actin in TCR signaling beyond microcluster formation.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





117 - 127


Actins, Animals, Antibodies, Cells, Cultured, Histocompatibility Antigens, Leukocyte Common Antigens, Lipid Metabolism, Lymphocyte Activation, Mice, Protein Binding, Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, Signal Transduction, T-Lymphocytes, ZAP-70 Protein-Tyrosine Kinase