2B4 is expressed on all NK and a subset of memory/effector CD8+ T cells. 2B4 binds to CD48 and activates NK cytotoxicity, but its function on CD8+ T cells is not clear. Furthermore, two isoforms of 2B4 (2B4S and 2B4L) exist in mice but the role of individual isoforms is not known. To address these questions, we generated primary T cell cultures from Ld-specific 2C/Rag2-/- TCR transgenic mice and transduced them with 2B4S or 2B4L. 2B4S- or 2B4L-transduced T cells showed greater cytotoxicity over control cells against CD48+ and CD48- targets, suggesting that ligation of 2B4 by CD48 on target cells was not necessary for 2B4 function. Rather, 2B4/CD48 interaction on adjacent T cells appeared to be critical for cytotoxicity. Therefore, 2B4 functions as a costimulator of CD8+ T cells in MHC-restricted cytotoxicity. We conclude that 2B4/CD48 interactions among T cells themselves can augment CTL lysis of their specific targets.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy