The number of possible T cell activation outcomes resulting from T cell receptor (TCR) engagement suggests that the TCR is able to differentially activate a myriad of signaling pathways depending on the nature of the stimulus. The complex structural organization of the TCR itself could underlie this diversity of responses. Assembly and stoichiometric studies have helped us to shed some light on the initiation of TCR signaling. The TCR is composed of TCR and CD3 dimers. Changes in the interaction between CD3 subunits within the CD3 dimers and in the interaction of these dimers with the TCR heterodimer could be the triggering mechanism that initiates the first activation events. One of the hallmarks of these early changes in TCR conformation is the induced recruitment of the adapter protein Nck to a proline-rich sequence of the cytoplasmic tail of CD3ε, but there may be others. According to our most recent observations, the TCR is organized in pre-existing clusters within plasma membrane microdomains, exhibiting a complexity above and beyond that of dimer composition complexity. How the presence of TCR in clusters influences TCR avidity and propagation of TCR signals is something that has yet to be investigated.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy