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Trends Immunol. 2011 Aug;32(8):345-9. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2011 Jun 21.

Emerging Tim-3 functions in antimicrobial and tumor immunity.

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Center for Neurologic Diseases, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


T cell immunoglobulin-3 (Tim-3) has been identified as a marker of differentiated interferon-γ-producing CD4(+) T helper type 1 and CD8(+) T cytotoxic type 1 cells. The interaction of Tim-3 with its ligand, galectin-9 (Gal-9), induces cell death, and in vivo blockade of this interaction results in exacerbated autoimmunity and abrogation of tolerance in experimental models, establishing Tim-3 as a negative regulatory molecule. Recent studies have uncovered additional mechanisms by which Tim-3 negatively regulates T cell responses, such as promoting the development of CD8(+) T cell exhaustion and inducing expansion of myeloid-derived suppressor cells. In contrast to this inhibitory effect on T cells, Tim-3-Gal-9 interaction promotes macrophage clearance of intracellular pathogens. Here, we focus on the emerging role for Tim-3 in tumor and antimicrobial immunity.

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