Molecular and Cellular Functions of CTLA-4

  • Samya Van CoillieEmail author
  • Bartosz Wiernicki
  • Jie XuEmail author
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 1248)


Cytotoxic T-lymphocyte-associated protein 4 (CTLA-4) is an inhibitory receptor belonging to the CD28 immunoglobulin subfamily, expressed primarily by T-cells. Its ligands, CD80 and CD86, are typically found on the surface of antigen-presenting cells and can either bind CD28 or CTLA-4, resulting in a costimulatory or a co-inhibitory response, respectively. Because of its dampening effect, CTLA-4 is a crucial regulator of T-cell homeostasis and self-tolerance. The mechanisms by which CTLA-4 exerts its inhibitory function can be categorized as either cell-intrinsic (affects the CTLA-4 expressing T-cell) or cell-extrinsic (affects secondary cells). Research from the last decade has shown that CTLA-4 mainly acts in a cell-extrinsic manner via its competition with CD28, CTLA-4-mediated trans-endocytosis of CD80 and CD86, and its direct tolerogenic effects on the interacting cell. Nonetheless, intrinsic CTLA-4 signaling has been implicated in T-cell motility and the regulation of CTLA-4 its subcellular localization amongst others. CTLA-4 is well recognized as a key immune checkpoint and has gained significant momentum as a therapeutic target in the field of autoimmunity and cancer. In this chapter, we describe the role of costimulation in immune response induction as well as the main mechanisms by which CTLA-4 can inhibit this process.


CTLA-4 CD28 CD80 CD86 Immune tolerance 


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© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Molecular Signaling and Cell Death UnitVIB-UGent Center for Inflammation ResearchGhentBelgium
  2. 2.Institutes of Biomedical Sciences, Zhongshan-Xuhui HospitalFudan UniversityShanghaiChina

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