Anergic CD4+ T cells form mature immunological synapses with enhanced accumulation of c-Cbl and Cbl-b

Melissa Doherty, Douglas G. Osborne, Diana L. Browning, David C. Parker, Scott A. Wetzel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


CD4+ T cell recognition of MHC:peptide complexes in the context of a costimulatory signal results in the large-scale redistribution of molecules at the T cell-APC interface to form the immunological synapse. The immunological synapse is the location of sustained TCR signaling and delivery of a subset of effector functions. T cells activated in the absence of costimulation are rendered anergic and are hyporesponsive when presented with Ag in the presence of optimal costimulation. Several previous studies have looked at aspects of immunological synapses formed by anergic T cells, but it remains unclear whether there are differences in the formation or composition of anergic immunological synapses. In this study, we anergized primary murine CD4 + T cells by incubation of costimulation-deficient, transfected fibroblast APCs. Using a combination of TCR, MHC:peptide, and ICAM-1 staining, we found that anergic T cells make mature immunological synapses with characteristic central and peripheral supramolecular activation cluster domains that were indistinguishable from control synapses. There were small increases in total phosphotyrosine at the anergic synapse along with significant decreases in phosphorylated ERK 1/2 accumulation. Most striking, there was specific accumulation of c-Cbl and Cbl-b to the anergic synapses. Cbl-b, previously shown to be essential in anergy induction, was found in both the central and the peripheral supramolecular activation clusters of the anergic synapse. This Cbl-b (and c-Cbl) accumulation at the anergic synapse may play an important role in anergy maintenance, induction, or both.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3598-3608
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Apr 1 2010


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