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Semin Immunopathol. 2009 Jul;31(2):207-21. doi: 10.1007/s00281-009-0157-4. Epub 2009 Jun 3.

Regulating the mucosal immune system: the contrasting roles of LIGHT, HVEM, and their various partners.

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Division of Developmental Immunology, La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology, La Jolla, CA 92037, USA.


LIGHT and herpes virus entry mediator (HVEM) comprise a ligand-receptor pair in the tumor necrosis factor superfamily. These molecules play an important role in regulating immunity, particularly in the intestinal mucosa. LIGHT also binds the lymphotoxin beta receptor, and HVEM can act as a ligand for immunoglobulin family molecules, including B- and T-lymphocyte attenuator, which suppresses immune responses. Complexity in this pivotal system arises from several factors, including the non-monogamous pairing of ligands and receptors, and reverse signaling or the ability of some ligands to serve as receptors. As a result, recognition events in this fascinating network of interacting molecules can have pro- or anti-inflammatory consequences. Despite complexity, experiments we and others are carrying out are establishing rules for understanding when and in what cell types these molecules contribute to intestinal inflammation.

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