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Zechmann, Maria; Reese, Sven ORCID: 0000-0002-4605-9791; Göbel, Thomas W. (2013): Chicken CRTAM Binds Nectin-Like 2 Ligand and Is Upregulated on CD8⁺ αβ and γδ T Lymphocytes with Different Kinetics.
In: PLOS ONE 8(12)
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Abstract

During a search for immunomodulatory receptors in the chicken genome, we identified a previously cloned chicken sequence as CRTAM homologue by its overall identity and several conserved sequence features. For further characterization, we generated a CRTAM specific mab. No staining was detectable in freshly isolated cell preparations from thymus, bursa, caecal tonsils, spleen, blood and intestine. Activation of splenocytes with recombinant IL-2 increased rapid CRTAM expression within a 2 h period on about 30% of the cells. These CRTAM+ cells were identified as CD8+ γδ T lymphocytes. In contrast, CRTAM expression could not be stimulated on PBL with IL-2, even within a 48 h stimulation period. As a second means of activation, T cell receptor (TCR) crosslinking using an anti-αβ-TCR induced CRTAM on both PBL and splenocytes. While CRTAM expression was again rapidly upregulated on splenocytes within 2 h, it took 48 h to reach maximum levels of CRTAM expression in PBL. Strikingly, albeit the stimulation of splenocytes was performed with anti-αβ-TCR, CRTAM expression after 2 h was mainly restricted to CD8+ γδ T lymphocytes, however, the longer anti-TCR stimulation of peripheral blood lymphocytes (PBL) resulted in CRTAM expression on αβ T lymphocytes. In order to characterize the potential ligand we cloned and expressed chicken Necl-2, a member of the nectin and nectin-like family which is highly homologous to its mammalian counterpart. Three independent assays including a reporter assay, staining with a CRTAM-Ig fusion protein and a cell conjugate assay confirmed the interaction of CRTAM with Necl-2 which could also be blocked by a soluble CRTAM-Ig fusion protein or a CRTAM specific mab. These results suggest that chicken CRTAM represents an early activation antigen on CD8+ T cells which binds to Necl-2 and is upregulated with distinct kinetics on αβ versus γδ T lymphocytes.