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J Immunol. 1999 Jun 1;162(11):6572-9.

Modulation of CD28 expression: distinct regulatory pathways during activation and replicative senescence.

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Division of Rheumatology, Department of Medicine, Mayo Clinic and Foundation, Rochester, MN 55905, USA.


The costimulatory molecule CD28 has a restricted tissue distribution and is expressed on T cells and some plasmacytoma cells. Although CD28 is constitutively expressed, its expression is transiently down-regulated following T cell activation and declines progressively with in vitro senescence. In vivo, CD8+ T cells and, less frequently, CD4+ T cells may completely lose CD28 surface expression during chronic infections and with aging. This correlates with changes of nuclear protein-binding activities to two motifs, site alpha and beta, within the CD28 minimal promoter. Both alpha- and beta-bound complexes are found only in lymphoid tissues, in CD28+ T cells, and in some transformed B cells. These complexes are coordinately expressed except during replicative senescence, which is characterized by the down-modulation of site beta- but not site alpha-binding activities. In contrast, T cell activation induces a parallel decline in both site alpha- and beta-binding activities. CD4+ and CD8+ T cells differ in their beta-binding profiles, which may explain the more pronounced down-regulation of CD28 in senescent CD8+ T cells. In vivo expanded CD4+CD28null and CD8+CD28null T cells uniformly lack alpha- and beta-bound complexes, resembling the pattern seen in chronically activated cells and not of senescent cells.

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