Functional distinction between the LFA-1, LFA-2, and LFA-3 membrane proteins on human CTL are revealed with trypsin-pretreated target cells

S. H. Gromkowski, A. M. Krensky, E. Martz, S. J. Burakoff

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19 Scopus citations


We asked whether we could distinguish the roles of the human lymphocyte membrane proteins LFA-1, LFA-2, and LFA-3 in the function of CTL-mediated killing. Little is known about the functions of these molecularly distinct proteins beyond the facts that i) binding of a monoclonal antibody (Mab) to any one of them is sufficient to inhibit killing, ii) that in each case inhibition involves prevention of CTL-target cell conjugate formation, and iii) that MAb to LFA-1 and LFA-2 inhibit best when bound to the CTL, whereas anti-LFA-3 inhibits only when bound to the target cell. This latter is despite the fact that (in our test system) LFA-1 and LFA-3 are expressed both on the CTL and on the target. When the target cells were pretreated with trypsin, the sensitivity of CTL-mediated killing was affected in a different way for each site. Inhibition of anti-LFA-1 was increased by approximately 20-fold. Inhibition by anti-LFA-2 was unaffected. Inhibition by anti-LFA-3 was abolished. Trypsin did not remove the specific antigens recognized by the various CTL, HLA-A,B,C or HLA-DR. Nor did it remove LFA-1 from the target cell. It did, however, selectively remove LFA-3 from the target cell. These results indicate, for the first time, that LFA-1 and LFA-2 have functionally distinct roles. They suggest that an unidentified trypsin-sensitive target cell molecule, operationally designated the 'trypsin-sensitive counter blocker' (TSCB), plays an important role in the function of LFA-1, possibly by providing a target cell binding site for LFA-1 on the CTL. The hypothesis that this TSCB is identical to LFA-3 (and the related possibility that LFA-1 and LFA-3 are mutual ligands) is not favored by our data, but it is not excluded. Finally, the data indicate that the mechanisms by which MAb inhibit killing differ at the LFA-1 and LFA-3 sites. They are consistent with LFA-1 providing adhesion strengthening by binding to another site (the TSCB?) and with LFA-3 delivering an inhibitory signal when provoked with MAb.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)244-249
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 1985

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology


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