Lipid Rafts & Co.: An integrated model of membrane organization in T cell activation
The model of membrane compartmentalization by self-organizing functional lipid microdomains, named lipid rafts, has been a fruitful concept resulting in great progress in understanding T cell signal transduction. However, due to recent results it has become clear that lipid rafts describe only one out of several membrane organizing principles crucial for T cell activation besides fences and pickets and protein-protein interactions that take part in the formation of the immunological synapse as a highly organized structure at the T cell contact site to the antigen-presenting cell. This review describes the concepts of lipid rafts and other membrane organizing principles to evolve a novel integrated model on the functional role of microdomains in immunological synapse formation and T cell activation. Further research has to elucidate the relative contribution and interrelation of different modes of membrane organization in productive T cell activation.