The B-lymphocyte activation antigen B7-1 (referred to as B7), also known as CD8, is a member of cell surface immunoglobulin superfamily and is expressed on the surface of antigen-presenting cells including activated B cells, macrophages and dendritic cells. As costimulatory ligands, B7-1 which exists predominantly as dimer and the related protein B7-2, interact with the costimulatory receptors CD28 and cytotoxic T lymphocyte-associated antigen 4 (CTLA-4) expressed on T cells, and thus constitute one of the dominant pathways that regulate T cell activation and tolerance, cytokine production, and the generation of CTL. The B7/CD28/CTLA4 pathway has the ability to both positively and negatively regulate immune responses. CD8 is thus regarded as promising therapeutic targets for autoimmune diseases and various carcinomas.
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