Accession Number:



Characterization of CTLA-4 Structure and Expression on Human T Cells

Descriptive Note:

Journal article

Corporate Author:


Report Date:


Pagination or Media Count:



CTLA-4 is an adhesion receptor expressed on activated T cells. The amino acid sequence of CTLA-4 is related to CD28, and although the function of CTLA-4 remains unknown, it shares several features with CD28, including a common counter-receptor, B7, that is present on Ag-presenting cells. In a recent study we found that CD28 and CTLA-4 were coexpressed at the mRNA level on activated T cells but that only CD28 was expressed on resting T cells. Here we show that within the T cell population, CTLA-4 expression is restricted to the subset of T cells that also express cell surface CD28. CTLA-4 mRNA expression can be induced on quiescent T cells via phorbol ester-mediated activation of protein kinase C but not with calcium ionophore treatment alone. Phorbol ester-induced expression of CTLA-4 mRNA could be enhanced with calcium ionophore treatment, and treatment of cells in this manner resulted in a reciprocal decrease in expression of CD28 mRNA. Ligation of CD28 with monoclonal antibody also resulted in the specific and rapid induction of CTLA-4 mRNA. To study the expression of CTLA-4 at the protein level, a rabbit antiserum against a recombinant protein derived from CTLA-4 cDNA was generated. When activated T cells were labeled with Smethionine, the rabbit antiserum precipitated a 41- to 43-kDa protein from whole cell lysates. Similar results were found when detergent-soluble lysates from 125 surfacelabeled resting and activated T cells were analyzed by SDS-PAGE. Surprisingly, under the conditions tested, CTLA-4 migrated primarily as a monomer at the cell surface, and could not be shown to exist as a disulfide- bonded homodimer or as a heterodimer consisting of CTLA-4 and CD28.

Subject Categories:

  • Genetic Engineering and Molecular Biology
  • Biology

Distribution Statement: