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Keywords:

  • microscopy;
  • photoactivated localization microscopy;
  • plasma membrane organization;
  • receptor trafficking;
  • signalling endosomes;
  • stochastic optical reconstruction microscopy;
  • T cell receptor

Signalling endosomes represent a general mechanism for modulating and compartmentalizing cell signalling, which is achieved by delineating specific spatial environments and connecting the plasma membrane with intracellular events. The molecular composition of vesicles, together with their targeting mechanisms and endocytic routes, contributes to the outcome of signalling pathways that are initiated either at the plasma membrane or within endosomes themselves. In T cell signalling, it is now accepted that the spatial distribution of signalling proteins is central to T cell activation not only at the immunological synapse, but also in endosomes travelling to and from the plasma membrane. In addition, there is a global rearrangement of the endosome machinery upon T cell activation, and emerging experimental evidence suggests that vesicles in T cells contain key T cell signalling proteins. We review the various mechanisms by which endosomes contribute to signalling pathways and consider whether signalling endosomes play a role in T cell signalling.