T Cell Responses Modulated Through Interaction Between CD8αα and the Nonclassical MHC Class I Molecule, TL

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Science  30 Nov 2001:
Vol. 294, Issue 5548, pp. 1936-1939
DOI: 10.1126/science.1063564

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The thymus leukemia antigen (TL) is a nonclassical class I molecule, expressed abundantly on intestinal epithelial cells. We show that, in contrast to other major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I molecules that bind CD8αβ, TL preferentially binds the homotypic form of CD8α (CD8αα). Thus, TL tetramers react specifically to CD8αα-expressing cells, including most intestinal intraepithelial lymphocytes. Compared with CD8αβ, which recognizes the same MHC as the T cell receptor (TCR) and thus acts as a TCR coreceptor, high-affinity binding of CD8αα to TL modifies responses mediated by TCR recognition of antigen presented by distinct MHC molecules. These findings define a novel mechanism of lymphocyte regulation through CD8αα and MHC class I.

  • * These authors contributed equally to this work.

  • Present address: PPL Therapeutics, Roslin, Edinburgh, EH25 9PP, Scotland, UK.

  • Present address: Department of Pathology and Immunology, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO 63110, USA.

  • § To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: hilde{at}

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