Nanoscale CAR Organization at the Immune Synapse Correlates with CAR-T Effector Functions

Julia Sajman, Oren Yakovian, Naamit Unger Deshet, Shaked Almog, Galit Horn, Tova Waks, Anat Globerson Levin, Eilon Sherman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


T cells expressing chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) are at the forefront of clinical treatment of cancers. Still, the nanoscale organization of CARs at the interface of CAR-Ts with target cells, which is essential for TCR-mediated T cell activation, remains poorly understood. Here, we studied the nanoscale organization of CARs targeting CD138 proteoglycans in such fixed and live interfaces, generated optimally for single-molecule localization microscopy. CARs showed significant self-association in nanoclusters that was enhanced in interfaces with on-target cells (SKOV-3, CAG, FaDu) relative to negative cells (OVCAR-3). CARs also segregated more efficiently from the abundant membrane phosphatase CD45 in CAR-T cells forming such interfaces. CAR clustering and segregation from CD45 correlated with the effector functions of Ca++ influx and target cell killing. Our results shed new light on the nanoscale organization of CARs on the surfaces of CAR-Ts engaging on- and off-target cells, and its potential significance for CAR-Ts’ efficacy and safety.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number2261
Issue number18
StatePublished - 12 Sep 2023


  • CAR-T
  • CD138
  • CD45
  • adoptive cell immunotherapy
  • cancer
  • immune synapse
  • nanoclusters
  • super resolution microscopy

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Biochemistry,Genetics and Molecular Biology


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