Lymphocytes and trogocytosis-mediated signaling

Jim Reed, Madison Reichelt, Scott A. Wetzel

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Trogocytosis is the intercellular transfer of membrane and membrane-associated molecules. This underappreciated process has been described in a variety of biological settings including neuronal remodeling, fertilization, viral and bacterial spread, and cancer, but has been most widely studied in cells of the immune system. Trogocytosis is performed by multiple immune cell types, including basophils, macrophages, dendritic cells, neutrophils, natural killer cells, B cells, γδ T cells, and CD4+ and CD8+ αβ T cells. Although not expressed endogenously, the presence of trogocytosed molecules on cells has the potential to significantly impact an immune response and the biology of the individual trogocytosis-positive cell. Many studies have focused on the ability of the trogocytosis-positive cells to interact with other immune cells and modulate the function of responders. Less understood and arguably equally important is the impact of these molecules on the individual trogocytosis-positive cell. Molecules that have been reported to be trogocytosed by cells include cognate ligands for receptors on the individual cell, such as activating NK cell ligands and MHC:peptide. These trogocytosed molecules have been shown to interact with receptors on the trogocytosis-positive cell and mediate intracellular signaling. In this review, we discuss the impact of this trogocytosis-mediated signaling on the biology of the individual trogocytosis-positive cell by focusing on natural killer cells and CD4+ T lymphocytes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1478
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2021


  • Auto-presentation
  • CD4 T cells
  • Cytokine
  • Differentiation
  • Immune response
  • Immune synapse
  • Intercellular transfer
  • Intracellular signaling
  • Natural killer cells
  • Trogocytosis


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