Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California


UCLA Previously Published Works bannerUCLA

T cell activation requires force generation


Triggering of the T cell receptor (TCR) integrates both binding kinetics and mechanical forces. To understand the contribution of the T cell cytoskeleton to these forces, we triggered T cells using a novel application of atomic force microscopy (AFM). We presented antigenic stimulation using the AFM cantilever while simultaneously imaging with optical microscopy and measuring forces on the cantilever. T cells respond forcefully to antigen after calcium flux. All forces and calcium responses were abrogated upon treatment with an F-actin inhibitor. When we emulated the forces of the T cell using the AFM cantilever, even these actin-inhibited T cells became activated. Purely mechanical stimulation was not sufficient; the exogenous forces had to couple through the TCR. These studies suggest a mechanical-chemical feedback loop in which TCR-triggered T cells generate forceful contacts with antigen-presenting cells to improve access to antigen.

Many UC-authored scholarly publications are freely available on this site because of the UC's open access policies. Let us know how this access is important for you.

Main Content
For improved accessibility of PDF content, download the file to your device.
Current View