Poliovirus receptor (PVR)-like protein cosignaling network: new opportunities for cancer immunotherapy

J Exp Clin Cancer Res. 2021 Aug 25;40(1):267. doi: 10.1186/s13046-021-02068-5.


Immune checkpoint molecules, also known as cosignaling molecules, are pivotal cell-surface molecules that control immune cell responses by either promoting (costimulatory molecules) or inhibiting (coinhibitory molecules) a signal. These molecules have been studied for many years. The application of immune checkpoint drugs in the clinic provides hope for cancer patients. Recently, the poliovirus receptor (PVR)-like protein cosignaling network, which involves several immune checkpoint receptors, i.e., DNAM-1 (DNAX accessory molecule-1, CD226), TIGIT (T-cell immunoglobulin (Ig) and immunoreceptor tyrosine-based inhibitory motif (ITIM)), CD96 (T cell activation, increased late expression (TACLILE)), and CD112R (PVRIG), which interact with their ligands CD155 (PVR/Necl-5), CD112 (PVRL2/nectin-2), CD111 (PVRL1/nectin-1), CD113 (PVRL3/nectin-3), and Nectin4, was discovered. As important components of the immune system, natural killer (NK) and T cells play a vital role in eliminating and killing foreign pathogens and abnormal cells in the body. Recently, increasing evidence has suggested that this novel cosignaling network axis costimulates and coinhibits NK and T cell activation to eliminate cancer cells after engaging with ligands, and this activity may be effectively targeted for cancer immunotherapy. In this article, we review recent advances in research on this novel cosignaling network. We also briefly outline the structure of this cosignaling network, the signaling cascades and mechanisms involved after receptors engage with ligands, and how this novel cosignaling network costimulates and coinhibits NK cell and T cell activation for cancer immunotherapy. Additionally, this review comprehensively summarizes the application of this new network in preclinical trials and clinical trials. This review provides a new immunotherapeutic strategy for cancer treatment.

Keywords: Cancer immunotherapy; Cosignaling network; Ligand; PVR; Receptor.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antigens, Differentiation, T-Lymphocyte / metabolism
  • Binding, Competitive
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Humans
  • Immunotherapy / methods*
  • Killer Cells, Natural / immunology
  • Ligands
  • Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Receptors, Immunologic / metabolism
  • Receptors, Virus / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction*


  • Antigens, Differentiation, T-Lymphocyte
  • CD226 antigen
  • Ligands
  • Receptors, Immunologic
  • Receptors, Virus
  • TIGIT protein, human
  • poliovirus receptor