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The CD8 molecule regulates T cell activation mediated via the CD3 T cell receptor and the adhesion molecule CD2. CD8 mAbs have been found to inhibit early (Ca2+ rise) as well as late events (cytotoxicity, proliferation, and lymphokine secretion) mediated via the CD2 pathway. A panel of eight anti-human CD8 mAbs was tested for inhibition of CD2-mediated Ca2+ rise in a cytotoxic T cell clone. The inhibition ranged from 5 to 53% independently of mAb isotype and affinity measured by half saturation binding. We then characterized these mAbs for their reactivity toward three mutants of the human CD8 alpha carrying amino acid sequence changes in the surface-exposed loops homologous to the immunoglobulin CDR1, 2, and 3. The mutations included replacement of the human CD8 alpha CDR1- and CDR2-like loops by the homologous mouse sequences and the insertion of a glycine in the middle of the CDR3-like loop. Thus, five mAbs were found to be affected by the mutation in the CDR2-like loop but not by alterations in the other CDR-like loops. Conversely, the other two mAbs (8E1.7 and B9.8) were affected only by mutations in the CDR1- and CDR3-like loops, respectively. Cross-inhibition experiments were essentially in agreement with these results. Interestingly, all the mAbs directed against the CDR2-like loop were potent inhibitors of CD2-mediated Ca2+ rise, with one exception probably due to poor affinity. Thus, in addition to being a site of interaction with major histocompatibility complex Class I as recent data have indicated, this region of the CD8 alpha subunit may play a role in regulating T cell activation.

Original publication




Journal article


Cell Immunol

Publication Date





341 - 352


Antibodies, Monoclonal, Antigens, Differentiation, T-Lymphocyte, Base Sequence, CD2 Antigens, CD8 Antigens, Calcium, DNA Mutational Analysis, DNA Primers, Epitopes, Humans, In Vitro Techniques, Lymphocyte Activation, Molecular Sequence Data, Receptors, Immunologic, Second Messenger Systems, Signal Transduction, T-Lymphocyte Subsets