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Journal Article

TCRs are randomly distributed on the plasma membrane of resting antigen-experienced T cells.


Ta,  H.
Department of NanoBiophotonics, MPI for biophysical chemistry, Max Planck Society;

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Rossboth, B., Arnold, A. M., Ta, H., Platzer, R., Kellner, F., Huppa, J. B., et al. (2018). TCRs are randomly distributed on the plasma membrane of resting antigen-experienced T cells. Nature Immunology, 19(8), 821-827. doi:10.1038/s41590-018-0162-7.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0001-E238-1
The main function of T cells is to identify harmful antigens as quickly and precisely as possible. Super-resolution microscopy data have indicated that global clustering of T cell antigen receptors (TCRs) occurs before T cell activation. Such pre-activation clustering has been interpreted as representing a potential regulatory mechanism that fine tunes the T cell response. We found here that apparent TCR nanoclustering could be attributed to overcounting artifacts inherent to single-molecule-localization microscopy. Using complementary super-resolution approaches and statistical image analysis, we found no indication of global nanoclustering of TCRs on antigen-experienced CD4(+) T cells under non-activating conditions. We also used extensive simulations of super-resolution images to provide quantitative limits for the degree of randomness of the TCR distribution. Together our results suggest that the distribution of TCRs on the plasma membrane is optimized for fast recognition of antigen in the first phase of T cell activation.