Activation of lymphocyte cytolytic machinery: Where are we?

Ricciarda Galandrini, Cristina Capuano, Angela Santoni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Target cell recognition by cytotoxic lymphocytes implies the simultaneous engagement and clustering of adhesion and activating receptors followed by the activation of an array of signal transduction pathways. The cytotoxic immune synapse represents the highly specialized dynamic interface formed between the cytolytic effector and its target that allows temporal and spatial integration of signals responsible for a defined sequence of processes culminating with the polarized secretion of lytic granules. Over the last decades, much attention has been given to the molecular signals coupling receptor ligation to the activation of cytolytic machinery. Moreover, in the last 10 years the discovery of genetic defects affecting cytotoxic responses greatly boosted our knowledge on the molecular effectors involved in the regulation of discrete phases of cytotoxic process at post-receptor levels. More recently, the use of super resolution and total internal reflection fluorescence imaging technologies added new insights on the dynamic reorganization of receptor and signaling molecules at lytic synapse as well as on the relationship between granule dynamics and cytoskeleton remodeling. To date we have a solid knowledge of the molecular mechanisms governing granule movement and secretion, being not yet fully unraveled the machinery that couples early receptor signaling to the late stage of synapse remodeling and granule dynamics. Here we highlight recent advances in our understanding of the molecular mechanisms acting in the activation of cytolytic machinery, also discussing similarities and differences between Natural killer cells and cytotoxic CD8+ T cells.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberArticle 390
JournalFrontiers in Immunology
Volume4
Issue numberNOV
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2013

Keywords

  • CTL
  • Cytolytic synapse
  • Cytotoxicity
  • NK cell
  • Signal transduction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Immunology and Allergy

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