Blood Journal
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Dendritic cell microvilli: a novel membrane structure associated with the multifocal synapse and T-cell clustering

  1. Phyllis J. Fisher1,
  2. Peggy A. Bulur1,
  3. Stanimir Vuk-Pavlovic1,
  4. Franklyn G. Prendergast1, and
  5. Allan B. Dietz1
  1. 1Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN


Polarizing effects of productive dendritic cell (DC)–T-cell interactions on DC cytoskeleton have been known in some detail, but the effects on DC membrane have been studied to a lesser extent. We found that T-cell incubation led to DC elongation and segregation of characteristic DC veils to the broader pole of the cell. On the opposite DC pole, we observed a novel membrane feature in the form of bundled microvilli. Each villus was approximately 100 nm in diameter and 600 to 1200 nm long. Microvilli exhibited high density of antigen-presenting molecules and costimulatory molecules and provided the physical basis for the multifocal immune synapse we observed during human DC and T-cell interactions. T cells preferentially bound to this site in clusters often contained both CD4+ and CD8+ T cells.

  • Submitted April 3, 2008.
  • Accepted August 14, 2008.
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