Cutting edge: monovalency of CD28 maintains the antigen dependence of T cell costimulatory responses

J Immunol. 2006 May 15;176(10):5725-9. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.176.10.5725.


CD28 and CTLA-4 are the major costimulatory receptors on naive T cells. But it is not clear why CD28 is monovalent whereas CTLA-4 is bivalent for their shared ligands CD80/86. We generated bivalent CD28 constructs by fusing the extracellular domains of CTLA-4 or CD80 with the intracellular domains of CD28. Bivalent or monovalent CD28 constructs were ligated with recombinant ligands with or without TCR coligation. Monovalent CD28 ligation did not induce responses unless the TCR was coligated. By contrast, bivalent CD28 ligation induced responses in the absence of TCR engagement. To extend these findings to primary cells, we used novel superagonistic and conventional CD28 Abs. Superagonistic Ab D665, but not conventional Ab E18, predominantly ligates CD28 bivalently at low CD28/Ab ratios and induces Ag-independent T cell proliferation. Monovalency of CD28 for its natural ligands is thus essential to provide costimulation without inducing responses in the absence of TCR engagement.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigens / immunology*
  • CD28 Antigens / genetics
  • CD28 Antigens / immunology
  • CD28 Antigens / metabolism
  • CD28 Antigens / physiology*
  • Cell Line
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-2 / biosynthesis
  • Ligands
  • Lymphocyte Activation / immunology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Rats
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell / physiology
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • T-Lymphocytes / metabolism


  • Antigens
  • CD28 Antigens
  • Interleukin-2
  • Ligands
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell