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Clinical and Developmental Immunology
Volume 2013, Article ID 450291, 19 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2013/450291
Review Article

Modulation of Tumor Immunity by Soluble and Membrane-Bound Molecules at the Immunological Synapse

1Millennium Institute on Immunology and Immunotherapy, Departamento de Genética Molecular y Microbiología, Facultad de Ciencias Biológicas, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Avenida Libertador Bernardo O'Higgins no. 340, Santiago 8331010, Chile
2INSERM U1064, Nantes, France
3Millennium Institute on Immunology and Immunotherapy, Departamento de Ciencias Biológicas, Facultad de Ciencias Biológicas y Facultad de Medicina, Universidad Andrés Bello, Chile
4Departamento de Reumatología, Facultad de Medicina, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Chile

Received 24 October 2012; Accepted 15 January 2013

Academic Editor: Mario Clerici

Copyright © 2013 Pablo A. González et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

To circumvent pathology caused by infectious microbes and tumor growth, the host immune system must constantly clear harmful microorganisms and potentially malignant transformed cells. This task is accomplished in part by T-cells, which can directly kill infected or tumorigenic cells. A crucial event determining the recognition and elimination of detrimental cells is antigen recognition by the T cell receptor (TCR) expressed on the surface of T cells. Upon binding of the TCR to cognate peptide-MHC complexes presented on the surface of antigen presenting cells (APCs), a specialized supramolecular structure known as the immunological synapse (IS) assembles at the T cell-APC interface. Such a structure involves massive redistribution of membrane proteins, including TCR/pMHC complexes, modulatory receptor pairs, and adhesion molecules. Furthermore, assembly of the immunological synapse leads to intracellular events that modulate and define the magnitude and characteristics of the T cell response. Here, we discuss recent literature on the regulation and assembly of IS and the mechanisms evolved by tumors to modulate its function to escape T cell cytotoxicity, as well as novel strategies targeting the IS for therapy.