T cells integrate and transduce the key signals necessary to mount an appropriate immune response. To do this, they rely on both secreted factors as well as physical cell-cell contact. Much attention has focused on the organization of proteins at the contact area between a T cell and an antigen-presenting cell, known as the immunological synapse. It has been shown in vitro that proteins segregate into two distinct regions within this contact area, a central area referred to as the c-SMAC, where the T cell receptor and associated signaling molecules are enriched, and a peripheral region called the p-SMAC containing LFA-1 and the scaffolding protein talin. Whether or not these structures form in vivo and how they function in T cell activation remain issues of great interest. Here, we review recently published work and propose several possible functions for the role of the c-SMAC in T cell activation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)177-182
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Cell Biology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 2005


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