Analysis of T cell activation by confocal microscopy

Paola Larghi, Antonella Viola, Barbara Molon

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Antigen-recognition by T cells requires the physical association with an antigen presenting cell (APC). At the interface between a T cell and an APC, the orchestrated redistribution of lipids, membrane receptors, and intracellular adaptors assembles a highly specialized junction, controlling the communication between the two cells, named the immunologic synapse (IS). The proper organization of the IS is a key step in host defense. Indeed, an appropriate T cell–APC interaction ensures the elimination of a wide range of pathogens and aberrant cells, whereas a deregulated IS formation leads to pathological situations such as infections, tumor development, or autoimmunity. Over the last decades T-cell scientists pioneered new imaging approaches to investigate IS assembly and organization. Microscopy techniques enable researchers to directly monitor, in space and time, the dynamics regulating T cell activation. In this chapter, we describe in detail different microscopy protocols to visualize and analyze the recruitment of different molecules and organelles at the IS.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMethods in Molecular Biology
PublisherHumana Press Inc.
Number of pages19
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Publication series

NameMethods in Molecular Biology
ISSN (Print)10643745


  • Antigen presenting cells
  • Calcium flux
  • Immunologic synapse
  • Microscopy
  • T cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


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