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Crit Rev Immunol. 1999;19(4):331-48.

Structure and function of the CD7 molecule.

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Department of Medicine, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina 27710, USA.


CD7 is a single-domain Ig superfamily molecule expressed on human T and NK cells, as well as on cells in the early stages of T, B, and myeloid cell differentiation. CD7 is highly expressed on malignant immature T cells and is generally absent on malignant mature T cells, such as CD4+ Sezary leukemia and HTLV-1+ adult T-cell leukemia cells. Because of lack of identification of a natural ligand and lack of a monoclonal antibody against murine CD7, the in vivo functions of CD7 have until recently remained obscure. Recent studies in CD7-deficient mice have provided new insights into CD7 function, and demonstrated key roles for CD7 in regulating peripheral T and NK cell cytokine production and sensitivity to LPS-induced shock syndromes. This article reviews recent work on the expression, structure, and function of CD7, and discusses roles the CD7 molecule might play in T and NK cell development and function.

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