T cell receptors (TCRs) are protein complexes formed by six different polypeptides. In most T cells, TCRs are composed of αβ subunits displaying immunoglobulin-like variable domains that recognize peptide antigens associated with major histocompatibility complex molecules expressed on the surface of antigen-presenting cells. TCRαβ subunits are associated with the CD3 complex formed by the γ, δ, ε, and ζ subunits, which are invariable and ensure signal transduction. Here, we review how the expression and function of TCR complexes are orchestrated by several fine-tuned cellular processes that encompass () synthesis of the subunits and their correct assembly and expression at the plasma membrane as a single functional complex, () TCR membrane localization and dynamics at the plasma membrane and in endosomal compartments, () TCR signal transduction leading to T cell activation, and () TCR degradation. These processes balance each other to ensure efficient T cell responses to a variety of antigenic stimuli while preventing autoimmunity.


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