Keith Eidell


Keith Eidell
BS, Biology
Albright College
Reading, PA
MS, Biology
Boston College
Chestnut Hill, MA
PhD Student in Immunology
Stephen Bunnell, PhD, Adviser 


Our laboratory employs biochemical and live cell imaging approaches to understand how the TCR governs T cell migration, adhesion, and activation. The lab has shown that many of the signals initiated in response to antigen are transduced by a TCR-induced macromolecular complex that incorporates integral membrane proteins, cytoplasmic signaling adaptors, and diverse effector proteins, including multiple regulators of the T cell cytoskeleton. These structures require the critical signaling adaptor SLP-76, and are therefore referred to as ‘SLP-76 microclusters’. I will examine how SLP-76 microclusters trigger integrin-dependent adhesion and how these structures enable a distinct mode of adhesion that involves the tight junctions within which the TCR engages its ligands. I will initially examine the roles of a group of integrin-associated cytoskeletal regulators that are recruited into SLP-76 microclusters via the adaptor protein SKAP55. Our hypothesis is that these proteins allow the T cell cytoskeleton to exert contractile forces on integrins and TCR-associated junctional structures. We expect that the consolidation and stabilization of the immune synapse requires these functions. In addition, I will examine whether these proteins influence T cell survival and proliferation by regulating cytoskeletal tension, as has been documented for adherent cells.

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