Kinetics and extent of T cell activation as measured with the calcium signal

Christoph Wülfing, Joshua D. Rabinowitz, Craig Beeson, Michael D. Sjaastad, Harden M. McConnell, Mark M. Davis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

150 Scopus citations


We have characterized the calcium response of a peptide-major histocompatibility complex (MHC)-specific CD4+ T lymphocyte line at the single cell level using a variety of ligands, alone and in combination. We are able to distinguish four general patterns of intracellular calcium elevation, with only the most robust correlating with T cell proliferation. Whereas all three antagonist peptides tested reduce the calcium response to an agonist ligand, two give very different calcium release patterns and the third gives none at all, arguing that (a) antagonism does not require calcium release and (b) it involves interactions that are more T cell receptor proximal. We have also measured the time between the first T cell-antigen- presenting cell contact and the onset of the calcium signal. The duration of this delay correlates with the strength of the stimulus, with stronger stimuli giving a more rapid response. The dose dependence of this delay suggests that the rate limiting step in triggering the calcium response is not the clustering of peptide-MHC complexes on the cell surface but more likely involves the accumulation of some intracellular molecule or complex with a half-life of a few minutes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1815-1825
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Experimental Medicine
Issue number10
StatePublished - May 19 1997
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


Dive into the research topics of 'Kinetics and extent of T cell activation as measured with the calcium signal'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this