Regulation of costimulation in the era of butyrophilins

Cytokine. 2009 Jun;46(3):370-5. doi: 10.1016/j.cyto.2009.03.009. Epub 2009 Apr 19.


The butyrophilin and butyrophilin-like superfamily of molecules has garnered attention in the immunology world in the past few years as a result of the observation that the butyrophilin-like 2 molecule, BTNL2, can alter T cell responsiveness. Additional interest in this superfamily solidified following the discovery that genetic polymorphisms in BTNL2 are associated with predisposition to many human diseases. In this review, we will provide an overview of the members comprising the butyrophilin superfamily of molecules. We will then discuss BTNL2 immunomodulatory function, and BTNL2 structural associations with other costimulatory molecules. We will then draw your attention to some of the lesser-known butyrophilin superfamily members by describing the expression patterns of these molecules in human tissues and cells. And we will finish by hypothesizing on the potential influence on general immune homeostasis that might be mediated by this, thus-far little-studied, family of molecules.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • B7-1 Antigen / genetics
  • B7-1 Antigen / immunology
  • Butyrophilins
  • Humans
  • Immune System / physiology
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / genetics
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / immunology*
  • Protein Isoforms / genetics
  • Protein Isoforms / immunology*
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • Tissue Distribution


  • B7-1 Antigen
  • Butyrophilins
  • Membrane Glycoproteins
  • Protein Isoforms