Author(s): Lewis RS
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Abstract Elevation of intracellular free Ca(2+) is one of the key triggering signals for T-cell activation by antigen. A remarkable variety of Ca(2+) signals in T cells, ranging from infrequent spikes to sustained oscillations and plateaus, derives from the interactions of multiple Ca(2+) sources and sinks in the cell. Following engagement of the T cell receptor, intracellular channels (IP3 and ryanodine receptors) release Ca(2+) from intracellular stores, and by depleting the stores trigger prolonged Ca(2+) influx through store-operated Ca(2+) (CRAC) channels in the plasma membrane. The amplitude and dynamics of the Ca(2+) signal are shaped by several mechanisms, including K(+) channels and membrane potential, slow modulation of the plasma membrane Ca(2+)-ATPase, and mitochondria that buffer Ca(2+) and prevent the inactivation of CRAC channels. Ca(2+) signals have a number of downstream targets occurring on multiple time scales. At short times, Ca(2+) signals help to stabilize contacts between T cells and antigen-presenting cells through changes in motility and cytoskeletal reorganization. Over periods of minutes to hours, the amplitude, duration, and kinetic signature of Ca(2+) signals increase the efficiency and specificity of gene activation events. The complexity of Ca(2+) signals contains a wealth of information that may help to instruct lymphocytes to choose between alternate fates in response to antigenic stimulation.
This article was published in Annu Rev Immunol
and referenced in Journal of Clinical & Experimental Ophthalmology