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Keywords:

  • ALCAM;
  • CD6;
  • human;
  • IL-2;
  • SRCR

Summary

The CD6 membrane-proximal scavenger receptor cysteine-rich domain (SRCR3) includes the activated leucocyte cell adhesion molecule (ALCAM) binding site. CD6-ALCAM mediates a low-affinity interaction and their long-term engagement contributes to the immunological synapse. Their ligation may play a dual function, facilitating stable adhesion between the antigen-presenting cells and T cells during the early activation phase and later in the proliferative phase of the immune response. This study explored the strength of the CD6 co-stimulatory effect and whether CD6 co-stimulation with its natural ligand ALCAM also contributes to the lymphocyte effector differentiation. It was found that CD6–ALCAM interaction in vitro induced a synergistic co-stimulation of normal human peripheral blood mononuclear cells, defined by Bliss analysis. CD6 co-stimulation enhanced the CD3 proliferative efficacy by 23–34%. Moreover, a fivefold increment in the CD25 molecules number with a distinct gene transcription profile associated with cell activation, differentiation, survival and adhesion molecules was observed over CD3 single activation. Additionally, CD6 co-stimulation in excess interleukin (IL)-2 promotes a preferentially proinflammatory response. Besides, a CD6 membrane-distal domain (SRCR1)-specific non-depleting monoclonal antibody (mAb) inhibited the induced proliferation in the presence of ALCAM, reducing interferon-γ, IL-6 and tumour necrosis factor-α production. These results suggest that CD6 co-stimulation enhances the intrinsic activity of the CD3 activation pathway and contributes to the T helper type 1 subset commitment, enhancing the IL-2 sensitivity of recent activated human lymphocytes. It supports the role of CD6 as a susceptibility gene for pathological autoimmunity leading to tissue inflammation, and its relevance for targeted therapy.