Timing and tuning of CD27–CD70 interactions: the impact of signal strength in setting the balance between adaptive responses and immunopathology


Martijn A. Nolte
Department of Experimental Immunology
Room K0-140
Academic Medical Center
University of Amsterdam
Meibergdreef 9
1105 AZ Amsterdam
The Netherlands
Tel.: +31 20 56 62226
Fax: +31 20 56 69756
e-mail: m.a.nolte@amc.nl


Summary:  After binding its natural ligand cluster of differentiation 70 (CD70), CD27, a tumor necrosis factor receptor (TNFR)-associated factor-binding member of the TNFR family, regulates cellular activity in subsets of T, B, and natural killer cells as well as hematopoietic progenitor cells. In normal immune responses, CD27 signaling appears to be limited predominantly by the restricted expression of CD70, which is only transiently expressed by cells of the immune system upon activation. Studies performed in CD27-deficient and CD70-transgenic mice have defined a non-redundant role of this receptor–ligand pair in shaping adaptive T-cell responses. Moreover, adjuvant properties of CD70 have been exploited for the design of anti-cancer vaccines. However, continuous CD27–CD70 interactions may cause immune dysregulation and immunopathology in conditions of chronic immune activation such as during persistent virus infection and autoimmune disease. We conclude that optimal tuning of CD27–CD70 interaction is crucial for the regulation of the cellular immune response. We provide a detailed comparison of costimulation through CD27 with its closely related family members 4-1BB (CD137), CD30, herpes virus entry mediator, OX40 (CD134), and glucocorticoid-induced TNFR family-related gene, and we argue that these receptors do not have a unique function per se but that rather the timing, context, and intensity of these costimulatory signals determine the functional consequence of their activity.