The co-expression of 2B4 (CD244) and CD160 delineates a subpopulation of human CD8+ T cells with a potent CD160-mediated cytolytic effector function.
Within human CD8+ T lymphocytes, the CD27-CD45RAhigh or CD56+ phenotypes contribute to precisely define the cells with CTL effector function. Novel markers were demonstrated to correlate with CTL properties, such as the 2B4 (CD244) receptor, a member of the CD2 subset of the immunoglobulin superfamily or the glycosylphosphatidylinositol-anchored CD160 receptor. We performed a study of these markers to further define the population of effectors with CTL functions. Here we show that cytotoxic subpopulations defined by surface markers CD160, CD56 and CD57 are mostly contained in the 2B4+CD8+ T cell population. Expression of CD160 identifies two populations in the 2B4+ population. The 2B4+CD160+ subset expresses a bona fide CTL phenotype. The co-expression of 2B4 and CD160 defines T cells containing high amounts of perforin and granzyme B. During CTL ontogeny, an up-regulation of 2B4 and CD160 is observed from a naive to a terminally differentiated phenotype. Finally, we demonstrated that CD160 triggering failed to induce cytotoxicity per se, but costimulated CD3-redirected killing. We conclude that the co-expression of 2B4 and CD160 defines a CD8+ T lymphocyte subpopulation with high CTL activity.Lire l‘article