How are signals to developing T cells coordinated at the membrane?

Russell S1,2, Charnley M1,2 and Allam A1,2

  1. Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre.
  2. Swinburne University of Technology.

T cell development in the thymus is precisely orchestrated by a interactions with thymic stroma, but the mechanisms of these interactions are not yet clear. We find that developing T cells assemble a signaling platform at the interface with stromal cells that is analogous to the immunological synapse of mature T cells. This finding is intriguing because the developing T cells do not yet express the peptide-specific T Cell Receptors that are essential for immunological synapse formation. Here, we describe the mechanisms by which developing T cells assemble an antigen-independent immunological synapse, and the consequences of that synapse on subsequent T cell fate decisions.