DynAct :
Molecular dynamics of Lymphocyte Interactions


The team is part of the ERC Synergy Grant funded “ATTACK Cancer” consortium, aiming to develop more effective and targeted cancer treatments.

The Toulouse Cancer Laboratory of Excellence is a project that aims to understand the mechanisms of resistance and relapse in cancer.


Immune responses are based on multiple and dynamic interactions between cells of the immune system leading to the formation of specialized signaling areas, the immunological synapses.

Our team applies a combination of state-of-the-art approaches, including fast live cell imaging and super-resolution microscopy (on single cells and human tissue slices) as well as mathematical modeling, in order to visualize and interpret the molecular dynamics occurring at immunological synapses. Deciphering the intercellular communication at the level of immunological synapses may contribute to the design of innovative therapeutic strategies aimed at modulating immune responses in different pathological contexts. Our research develops along the following 4 main axes.


Immunological synapse

Cytotoxic T lymphocytes

Tumor immunology

Real-time imaging techniques

Tumor immunoevasion


Computational biology

In silico modeling

Computer vision

Cartesian genetic programming

CD8+ memory-resident
T cells

     Tumor microenvironment



scientific productions

Zevolini, Fabrizia, Anna Onnis, Roxana Khazen, Sabina Müller, Giuseppe Marotta, Salvatore Valitutti, Francesca Finetti, and Cosima T. Baldari. “Polo-like Kinase 1 Regulates Immune Synapse Assembly and Cytotoxic T Cell Function by Driving Microtubule Dynamics.” Journal of Cell Science 137, no. 5 (March 1, 2024): jcs261476.
Baldari, Cosima T., Salvatore Valitutti, and Michael L. Dustin. “Editorial: Mechanisms of Lymphocyte Mediated Cytotoxicity in Health and Disease.” Frontiers in Immunology 14 (2023): 1226870.
Müller, Sabina, Liza Filali, Marie-Pierre Puissegur, and Salvatore Valitutti. “Measuring CTL Lytic Granule Secretion and Target Cell Membrane Repair by Fluorescent Lipophilic Dye Uptake at the Lytic Synapse.” Methods in Molecular Biology (Clifton, N.J.) 2654 (2023): 463–76.
McKenzie, Brienne, and Salvatore Valitutti. “Resisting T Cell Attack: Tumor-Cell-Intrinsic Defense and Reparation Mechanisms.” Trends in Cancer, December 31, 2022, S2405-8033(22)00264-3.
Puissant-Lubrano, Bénédicte, Charlène Bouthemy, Nicolas Congy-Jolivet, Jean Milhes, Vincent Minville, Nassim Kamar, Leïla Demini, Franck Zal, and Yves Renaudineau. “The Oxygen Carrier M101 Alleviates Complement Activation, Which May Be Beneficial for Donor Organ Preservation.” Frontiers in Immunology 13 (December 9, 2022): 1006761.
Cassioli, Chiara, Laura Patrussi, Salvatore Valitutti, and Cosima T. Baldari. “Learning from TCR Signaling and Immunological Synapse Assembly to Build New Chimeric Antigen Receptors (CARs).” International Journal of Molecular Sciences 23, no. 22 (November 17, 2022): 14255.
Leveque, Edouard, Axel Rouch, Charlotte Syrykh, Julien Mazières, Laurent Brouchet, Salvatore Valitutti, Eric Espinosa, and Fanny Lafouresse. “Phenotypic and Histological Distribution Analysis Identify Mast Cell Heterogeneity in Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer.” Cancers 14, no. 6 (March 9, 2022): 1394.
Filali, Liza, Marie-Pierre Puissegur, Kevin Cortacero, Sylvain Cussat-Blanc, Roxana Khazen, Nathalie Van Acker, François-Xavier Frenois, et al. “Ultrarapid Lytic Granule Release from CTLs Activates Ca2+-Dependent Synaptic Resistance Pathways in Melanoma Cells.” Science Advances 8, no. 7 (February 18, 2022): eabk3234.
Renaudineau, Yves, Laurent Sailler, Florence Abravanel, Jacques Izopet, Adrien Delourme, Damien Biotti, Jonathan Ciron, et al. “Glucocorticoid Use as a Cause of Non-Cellular Immune Response to SARS-Cov2 Spike in Patients with Immune System Diseases.” Journal of Autoimmunity 133 (2022): 102912.
McKenzie, Brienne, Roxana Khazen, and Salvatore Valitutti. “Greek Fire, Poison Arrows, and Scorpion Bombs: How Tumor Cells Defend Against the Siege Weapons of Cytotoxic T Lymphocytes.” Frontiers in Immunology 13 (2022): 894306.
Laplagne, Chloé, Laetitia Ligat, Juliet Foote, Frederic Lopez, Jean-Jacques Fournié, Camille Laurent, Salvatore Valitutti, and Mary Poupot. “Self-Activation of Vγ9Vδ2 T Cells by Exogenous Phosphoantigens Involves TCR and Butyrophilins.” Cellular & Molecular Immunology, June 28, 2021.
Lafouresse, Fanny, Romain Jugele, Sabina Müller, Marine Doineau, Valérie Duplan-Eche, Eric Espinosa, Marie-Pierre Puisségur, Sébastien Gadat, and Salvatore Valitutti. “Stochastic Asymmetric Repartition of Lytic Machinery in Dividing CD8+ T Cells Generates Heterogeneous Killing Behavior.” ELife 10 (January 11, 2021): e62691.
Bálint, š., S. Müller, R. Fischer, B. M. Kessler, M. Harkiolaki, S. Valitutti, and M. L. Dustin. “Supramolecular Attack Particles Are Autonomous Killing Entities Released from Cytotoxic T Cells.” Science 368, no. 6493 (May 22, 2020): 897–901.
Biolato, Andrea Michela, Liza Filali, Hannah Wurzer, Céline Hoffmann, Ernesto Gargiulo, Salvatore Valitutti, and Clément Thomas. “Actin Remodeling and Vesicular Trafficking at the Tumor Cell Side of the Immunological Synapse Direct Evasion from Cytotoxic Lymphocytes.” In International Review of Cell and Molecular Biology, 356:99–130. Elsevier, 2020.
Khazen, Roxana, Sabina Müller, Fanny Lafouresse, Salvatore Valitutti, and Sylvain Cussat-Blanc. “Sequential Adjustment of Cytotoxic T Lymphocyte Densities Improves Efficacy in Controlling Tumor Growth.” Scientific Reports 9, no. 1 (August 23, 2019): 12308.
Cordella, Martina, Claudio Tabolacci, Cinzia Senatore, Stefania Rossi, Sabina Mueller, Carla Lintas, Adriana Eramo, et al. “Theophylline Induces Differentiation and Modulates Cytoskeleton Dynamics and Cytokines Secretion in Human Melanoma-Initiating Cells.” Life Sciences 230 (August 1, 2019): 121–31.
Gonnord, Pauline, Manon Costa, Arnaud Abreu, Michael Peres, Loïc Ysebaert, Sébastien Gadat, and Salvatore Valitutti. “Multiparametric Analysis of CD8+ T Cell Compartment Phenotype in Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia Reveals a Signature Associated with Progression toward Therapy.” Oncoimmunology 8, no. 4 (2019): e1570774.


Amandine Michelet
Doctorant / PhD student
Mara Cenerenti
Doctorant / PhD student
Roxana Khazen
Chercheur Post-Doctorant / Post-Doc researcher
Emma Cini
Ingénieur de laboratoire / laboratory engineer
Zevolini Fabrizia
Doctorant / PhD student
Kévin Cortacero
Doctorant / PhD student
Salvatore Valitutti
Chercheur statutaire / permanent scientist
Chloé Lamesa
Clinicien Chercheur / Researcher hospital practitioner
Cécile Demeur
Enseignant chercheur / University researcher
Sabina Mueller
Ingénieur de laboratoire / laboratory engineer
Marie-Pierre Puisségur
Ingénieur de laboratoire / laboratory engineer
Brienne McKenzie
Chercheur Post-Doctorant / Post-Doc researcher
Lucie Demeersseman
Ingénieur de laboratoire / laboratory engineer
Gaëlle Corsaut
Ingénieur de laboratoire / laboratory engineer
Frecia Rodriguez
Chercheur invité / visiting researcher
Fanny Lafouresse
Chercheur statutaire / permanent scientist


Centre de Recherches en Cancérologie de Toulouse

Centre de Recherches contre le Cancer de Toulouse (Oncopole)

Toulouse - FR

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