T cell costimulatory receptor CD28 is a primary target for PD-1–mediated inhibition

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Science  31 Mar 2017:
Vol. 355, Issue 6332, pp. 1428-1433
DOI: 10.1126/science.aaf1292

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CD28 is a critical target for PD-1 blockade

PD-1–targeted therapies have been a breakthrough for treating certain tumors and can rejuvenate T cells to unleash the anticancer immune response (see the Perspective by Clouthier and Ohashi). It is widely believed that PD-1 suppresses signaling through the T cell receptor (TCR). However, Hui et al. find instead that the TCR costimulatory receptor, CD28, is the primary target of PD-1 signaling. Independently, Kamphorst et al. show that CD28 is required for PD-1 therapies to kill cancer cells efficiently and eliminate chronic viral infections in mice. Lung cancer patients that responded to PD-1 therapy had more CD28+ T cells, which suggests that CD28 may predict treatment response.

Science, this issue p. 1428, p. 1423; see also p. 1373


Programmed cell death–1 (PD-1) is a coinhibitory receptor that suppresses T cell activation and is an important cancer immunotherapy target. Upon activation by its ligand PD-L1, PD-1 is thought to suppress signaling through the T cell receptor (TCR). By titrating PD-1 signaling in a biochemical reconstitution system, we demonstrate that the co-receptor CD28 is strongly preferred over the TCR as a target for dephosphorylation by PD-1–recruited Shp2 phosphatase. We also show that CD28, but not the TCR, is preferentially dephosphorylated in response to PD-1 activation by PD-L1 in an intact cell system. These results reveal that PD-1 suppresses T cell function primarily by inactivating CD28 signaling, suggesting that costimulatory pathways play key roles in regulating effector T cell function and responses to anti–PD-L1/PD-1 therapy.

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