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Ligation of the T cell antigen receptor (TCR) stimulates protein tyrosine kinases (PTKs), which regulate intracellular calcium and control the activity of protein kinase C (PKC) isozymes. PTKs activated by antigen receptors and costimulatory molecules also couple to phosphatidylinositol-3 kinase (PI3K) and control the activity of Ras- and Rho-family GTPases. T cell signal transduction is triggered physiologically by antigen in the context of antigen presenting cells (APC). The formation of stable and prolonged contacts between T cells and APCs is not necessary to initiate T cell signaling but is required for effective T cell proliferation and differentiation. The stabilization of the T cell/ APC conjugate is regulated by intracellular signals induced by antigen receptors and costimulators. These coordinate the regulation of the actin and microtubule cytoskeleton and organize a specialized signaling zone that allows sustained TCR signaling.

Original publication




Journal article


Annu Rev Immunol

Publication Date





165 - 184


Cytoskeleton, Humans, Lymphocyte Activation, Protein-Tyrosine Kinases, Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, Signal Transduction, T-Lymphocytes