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The immunological synapse is a specialized cell-cell junction between T cell and antigen-presenting cell surfaces. It is characterized by a central cluster of antigen receptors, a ring of integrin family adhesion molecules, and temporal stability over hours. The role of this specific organization in signaling for T cell activation has been controversial. We use in vitro and in silico experiments to determine that the immunological synapse acts as a type of adaptive controller that both boosts T cell receptor triggering and attenuates strong signals.

Original publication




Journal article


Science (New York, N.Y.)

Publication Date





1218 - 1222


Department of Pathology and Immunology, Washington University School of Medicine, Box 8118, 660 South Euclid, Saint Louis, MO 63110, USA.


Antigen-Presenting Cells, T-Lymphocytes, Cell Membrane, Animals, Mice, Transgenic, Mice, Lipid Bilayers, Peptides, Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing, Proteins, Cytoskeletal Proteins, Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, Antigens, Ligands, Microscopy, Confocal, Monte Carlo Method, Lymphocyte Activation, Signal Transduction, Endocytosis, Receptor Aggregation, Major Histocompatibility Complex, Down-Regulation, Phosphorylation, Models, Immunological, Computer Simulation, ZAP-70 Protein-Tyrosine Kinase, Protein-Tyrosine Kinases