The SLAM/CD2 gene family encodes receptors that play important roles in regulating multiple cellular interactions in the adaptive and innate immune systems. Three members of this gene family, Ly108, Ly9, and CD84, exhibit polymorphisms that strongly influence susceptibility to systemic autoimmunity, notably in mice, but also in some human populations. Polymorphisms of Ly108 in mice strongly impact central tolerance in both B and T cell development, predominantly by modulating apoptosis, anergy, and cell-cycle progression. In addition, Ly108 and CD84, together with their downstream signaling adaptor SLAM-associated protein (SAP), have emerged as key players in B-T interactions during the formation of germinal centers. Interestingly, several independent lines of research have now associated variations in B-T interactions during germinal center formation with systemic autoimmunity, suggesting that susceptibility to systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) may involve in part the impairment of this peripheral tolerance checkpoint. These new insights into the multiplicity of roles played by the SLAM/CD2 family and its potential importance in human autoimmunity positions the SLAM/CD2 family as an excellent target for immunotherapy.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy