T cells use two directionally distinct pathways for cytokine secretion

Morgan Huse, Björn F. Lillemeier, Michael S. Kuhns, Daniel S. Chen, Mark M. Davis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

351 Scopus citations


Activated T helper cells produce many cytokines, some of which are secreted through the immunological synapse toward the antigen-presenting cell. Here we have used immunocytochemistry, live-cell imaging and a surface-mediated secretion assay to show that there are two cytokine export pathways in T helper cells. Some cytokines, including interleukin 2 and interferon-γ, were secreted into the synapse, whereas others, including tumor necrosis factor and the chemokine CCL3 (MIP-1α), were released multidirectionally. Each secretion pathway was associated with different trafficking proteins, indicating that they are molecularly distinct processes. These data suggest that T helper cells release some cytokines into the immunological synapse to impart specific communication and others multidirectionally to promote inflammation and to establish chemokine gradients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)247-255
Number of pages9
JournalNature immunology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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