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J Biol Regul Homeost Agents. 1997 Oct-Dec;11(4):137-42.

Functional associations of CD38 with CD3 on the T-cell membrane.

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Laboratory of Cell Biology, University of Torino Medical School, Italy.


CD38 is a multifunctional membrane surface glycoprotein expressed by different cells and tissues, including T cells at certain stages of their development. Besides its involvement in transmembrane signaling, CD38 play a role in cell adhesion processes. Structurally, membrane CD38 was reported as presenting lateral associations with molecules involved in recognition and signaling, namely with the TCR/CD3 complex in T cells. Here we report that ligation of CD38 by agonistic and non-agonistic monoclonal antibodies exerts different effects on T cells, the former inducing down-modulation of the associated molecules, probably through a protein kinase C-dependent mechanism. This observation supports the view that the reduced expression of TCR/CD3 is secondary to interplay with CD38-mediated signaling, which partially overlaps with the CD3-mediated pathway. CD3 ligation by monoclonal antibodies leads not only to the expected internalization of the TCR/CD3 complex but also to down-modulation of surface CD38. The results obtained indicate that CD38 is closely associated with the CD3/TCR complex and that co-modulation of CD38 with TCR/CD3 is a critical step in signaling processes on T lymphocytes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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