T cell adhesion regulation from clustering GM1 lipid rafts

Jason Sterling Mitchell, The University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Houston


Lipid rafts are small laterally mobile cell membrane structures that are highly enriched in lymphocyte signaling molecules. Lipid rafts can form from the assembly of specialized lipids and proteins through hydrophobic associations from saturated acyl chains. GM1 gangliosides are a common lipid raft component and have been shown to be essential in many T cell functions. Current lipid raft theory hypothesizes that certain aspects of T cell signaling can be initiated from the coalescence of these signaling-enriched lipid rafts to sites of receptor engagement. We have described how the specific aggregation of GM1 lipid rafts can cause a reorganization of cell surface molecular associations which include dynamic associations of β1 integrins with GM1 lipid rafts. These associations had pronounced effects on T cell adhesive and migratory states. We show that GM1 lipid raft aggregation can dramatically inhibit T cell migration and chemotaxis on the extracellular matrix constituent fibronectin. This inhibition of migration function was shown to be dependent on the src kinase Lck and PKC-regulated F-actin polymerization to extending pseudopods. Furthermore, GM1 lipid raft clustering could activate T cell adhesion-strengthening mechanisms. These include an increase in cellular rigidity, the creation of polymerized cortical F-actin structures, the induction of high affinity integrin states, an increase in surface area and symmetry of the contact plane, and resistance to shear flow detachment while adherent to fibronectin. This indicates that GM1 lipid raft aggregation defines a novel stimulus to regulate lymphocyte motility and cellular adhesion which could have important implications in T cell homing mechanisms.

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Recommended Citation

Mitchell, Jason Sterling, "T cell adhesion regulation from clustering GM1 lipid rafts" (2006). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI3249203.