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J Leukoc Biol. 2010 Oct;88(4):757-67. doi: 10.1189/jlb.0309156. Epub 2010 Jul 7.

Stimulation of human butyrophilin 3 molecules results in negative regulation of cellular immunity.

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  • 1Medinet Medical Institute, Tokyo, Japan.


The BTN molecule consists of three subfamilies, BTN1, BTN2. and BTN3, and possesses interesting properties for biological regulation. Although the biological significance of BTN1 and BTN2 has been progressively clarified, the receptor function of BTN3 remains to be elucidated as a result of the absence of appropriate agonists. To clarify the participation of BTN3 in immune regulation, BTN3-specific mAb, referred to as 34-7 and 232-5, were generated from BTN3 gene-immunized mice. The 232-5 mAb, specific to the extracellular domain of the BTN3 molecule, stained almost all populations of human PBMCs, including T, NK, NKT, and B cells. Notably, treatment with the 232-5 mAb resulted in phosphorylation of BTN3A3 molecules, leading to attenuated proliferation and cytokine secretion by CD4+ and CD8+ T cells in a CD4+ CD25+ Treg cell-independent manner, demonstrating the agonistic property of the 232-5 mAb in BTN3-mediated negative signal transduction. The magnitude of the cell surface expression of BTN3 molecules correlated inversely with lymphocyte activity, suggesting that BTN3 molecules contribute to the maintenance of the immune system. Taken together, our findings provide new insights for the role of BTN3 as an inhibitor of excessive cellular immune responses.

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