When bacteria or viruses enter the body, proteins on their surfaces are recognized and processed to activate T cells, white blood cells with critical roles in fighting infections.

During T-cell activation, a molecular complex known as the microtubule-organizing center (MTOC) moves to a central location on the surface of the T-cell.

Microtubules have several important functions, including determining cell shape and cell division.

Thus, MTOC repositioning plays a critical role in the immune response initiated by activated T cells.

In a recent publication in Scientific Reports, the first authors Lim Wei Ming and Yuma Ito, along with their colleagues at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech), provide compelling evidence that a key protein responsible for the relocation of the MTOC in activated T cells is a molecule known as CLIP-170, a microtubule-binding protein.

The researchers used live-cell imaging to uncover the mechanism of MTOC relocation.

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