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Kramer, M.; Koszinowski, Ulrich H. (1981): Selective inhibition of T suppressor-cell function by a monosaccharide. In: Nature, Vol. 289: pp. 181-184




Interactions between regulatory T lymphocytes and other cells are assumed to occur at the level of the cell surface. T cells which suppress the generation of specifically effector cells have been described as having antigenic, idiotypic, allotypic and I-region specificity1−4. Other T suppressor cells generated by in vitro cultivation with or without mitogenic stimulation5,6 have suppressive activity for T and B cells but no specificity can be assigned to them. These T suppressor cells (Ts) inhibit various lymphoid functions—this either reflects their polyclonal origin or indicates that the structures recognized by the Ts receptors must be common for many cell types. Carbohydrates on cell membrane-inserted glycoproteins or glycolipids might function as specific ligands for recognition by cellular receptors or soluble factors. Almost all cell-surface proteins of mammalian cells are glycosylated. There is evidence for lectin-like carbohydrate binding proteins not only in plants7 but also in toxins8, viruses9, prokaryotic cells10 and even mammalian cells, including T cells11. A functional role for these lectin-like proteins has been described for slime moulds and suggested for the selective association of embryonic cells12,13. We report here that addition of a monosaccharide can counteract the effect of T suppressor cells during the generation of alloreactive cytotoxic T cells (CTLs) in vitro.