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CD2 (known also as T11 (ref. 1), LFA-2 (ref. 2) and the erythrocyte rosette receptor (ref. 3] is a functionally important T lymphocyte surface glycoprotein of relative molecular mass 50,000 to 58,000 (Mr 50-58 K) which appears early in thymocyte ontogeny and is present on all mature T cells. Monoclonal antibodies to CD2 inhibit cytotoxic T-lymphocyte (CTL)-mediated killing by binding to the T lymphocyte and blocking adhesion to the target cell. Such antibodies also inhibit T helper cell responses including antigen-stimulated proliferation, interleukin-2 (IL-2) secretion, and IL-2 receptor expression. Certain combinations of monoclonal antibodies to CD2 epitopes trigger proliferation of peripheral blood T lymphocytes, cytotoxic effector function and expression of IL-2 receptors by thymocytes, resulting in thymocyte proliferation in the presence of exogenous IL-2 (ref. 11). These findings suggest that CD2 can function in signalling as well as being an adhesion molecule. To understand the role of CD2 in T-cell adhesion and activation, it is essential to define its natural ligand. Our previous observation that purified CD2 inhibits rosetting of T lymphocytes with sheep erythrocytes and can be absorbed by sheep erythrocytes suggested it also might bind with detectable affinity to human cells. We now report that CD2 binds to a cell-surface antigen known as lymphocyte function-associated antigen-3 (LFA-3) with high affinity, and can mediate adhesion of lymphoid cells via interaction with LFA-3.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





400 - 403


Antibodies, Monoclonal, Antigens, Differentiation, T-Lymphocyte, Antigens, Surface, B-Lymphocytes, Binding, Competitive, Cell Adhesion, Cell Line, Humans, Lymphocyte Function-Associated Antigen-1, Rosette Formation, T-Lymphocytes, T-Lymphocytes, Cytotoxic, T-Lymphocytes, Helper-Inducer