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Recognition by scavenger receptor cysteine-rich domains on membrane proteins regulates innate and adaptive immune responses. Two receptors expressed primarily on T cells, CD5 and CD6, are linked genetically and are structurally similar, both containing three scavenger receptor cysteine-rich domains in their extracellular regions. A specific cell surface interaction for CD5 has been difficult to define at the molecular level because of the susceptibility of CD5 protein to denaturation. By using soluble CD5 purified at neutral pH to preserve biological activity, we show that CD5 mediates species-specific homophilic interactions. CD5 domain 1 only is involved in the interaction. CD5 mAbs that have functional effects in humans, rats, and mice block homophilic binding. Ag-specific responses by mouse T cells in vitro were increased when engagement of human CD5 domain 1 was inhibited by mutation or by IgG or Fab fragment from a CD5 mAb. This showed that homophilic binding results in productive engagement. Enhancement of polyclonal immune responses of rat lymph node cells by a Fab fragment from a CD5 mAb shown to block homophilic interactions provided evidence that the extracellular region of CD5 regulates inhibition in normal cells. These biochemical and in vitro functional assays provide evidence that the extracellular region of CD5 regulates immunity through species-specific homophilic interactions.

Original publication




Journal article


J Immunol

Publication Date





6068 - 6074


Animals, CD5 Antigens, Humans, Ligands, Membrane Proteins, Mice, Protein Conformation, Rats, Species Specificity