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Eur J Immunol. 1991 Oct;21(10):2507-15.

CD4 and CD8 accessory molecules function through interactions with major histocompatibility complex molecules which are not directly associated with the T cell receptor-antigen complex.

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Department of Chemical Immunology, Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel.


Both the subset-specific, CD4 and CD8 T cell accessory molecules and the antigen-specific T cell receptor (TcR) interact with major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I and class II molecules on the surface of antigen-presenting cells. We analyzed whether the CD4/CD8 molecules exert their accessory function through binding with the same MHC molecules which participate in the TcR-antigen-MHC complex. We utilized a CD4-, CD8-, class I-allospecific T cell hybridoma which functionally manifests both cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) and T helper1 (Th1) phenotypes, and rendered it bispecific by transfecting it with genes encoding either a class II-restricted, 2,4,6-trinitrophenyl (TNP)-I-Ad-specific TcR or a non-MHC-restricted chimeric TcR, composed of a variable part of an anti-TNP antibody. Expression of either CD4 or CD8 transgenes in these hybridomas enhanced and augmented their reactivity towards the appropriate target cells regardless of the type of TcR-MHC interaction. Thus, class I-specific responses could be enhanced through CD4-class II interactions, and class II-restricted responses could be augmented through CD8-class I interactions. Furthermore, these accessory molecules also potentiated TNP-specific responses by the chimeric TcR which is MHC unrestricted. The accessory molecules facilitated both interleukin 2 (IL2) production and cytolytic activity by shortening the activation time and rendering the cells responsive to lower antigenic stimuli. The degree of activity of the T cell hybridomas correlated with the level of accessory molecule expression and was not related to the effector function mediated by the cells. Anti-CD4 or -CD8 antibodies completely inhibited the activity of transfectants expressing the corresponding accessory molecule, regardless of the MHC type of the TcR interaction. Such antibodies blocked direct TcR stimulation provided by either anti-T3/Ti antibodies or lectins, but could not inhibit the activation through agents that bypass the TcR such as phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate plus ionophore. Taken together, these studies demonstrate that the CD8/CD4 molecules can exert their accessory function through interactions with MHC molecules which are not directly associated with the TcR-Ag-MHC complex, and that this accessory effect is associated with TcR-mediated triggering at an early stage of the signaling process and is not related to the effector mechanism assigned to the CD4 and CD8 T cell subsets.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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