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CD8 engagement with class I major histocompatibility antigens greatly enhances T-cell activation, but it is not clear how this is achieved. We address the question of whether or not the antibody-mediated ligation of CD8 alone induces transcriptional remodeling in a T-cell clone, using serial analysis of gene expression. Even though it fails to induce overt phenotypic changes, we find that CD8 ligation profoundly alters transcription in the T-cell clone, at a scale comparable to that induced by antibody-mediated ligation of CD3. The character of the resulting changes is distinct, however, with the net effect of CD8 ligation being substantially inhibitory. We speculate that ligating CD8 induces weak, T-cell receptor (TCR)-mediated inhibitory signals reminiscent of the effects of TCR antagonists. Our results imply that CD8 ligation alone is incapable of activating the T-cell clone because it fails to fully induce NFAT-dependent transcription.

Original publication




Journal article


Cell Res

Publication Date





641 - 648


Antibodies, CD3 Complex, CD8 Antigens, Clone Cells, Gene Expression Profiling, Gene Expression Regulation, Gene Library, RNA, Messenger, Signal Transduction, T-Lymphocytes