|Cytotoxic T-lymphocyte-associated protein 4|
Structure of murine CTLA4 (CD152)
|Symbols||; CD; CD152; CELIAC3; CTLA-4; GRD4; GSE; IDDM12|
|RNA expression pattern|
CTLA-4 (Cytotoxic T-Lymphocyte Antigen 4), also known as CD152 (Cluster of differentiation 152), is a protein receptor that downregulates the immune system. CTLA4 is found on the surface of T cells, which lead the cellular immune attack on antigens. The T cell attack can be turned on by stimulating the CD28 receptor on the T cell. The T cell attack can be turned off by stimulating the CTLA4 receptor, which acts as an "off" switch.
Function and mechanism
CTLA4 is a member of the immunoglobulin superfamily, which is expressed on the surface of Helper T cells and transmits an inhibitory signal to T cells. CTLA4 is similar to the T-cell co-stimulatory protein, CD28, and both molecules bind to CD80 and CD86, also called B7-1 and B7-2 respectively, on antigen-presenting cells. CTLA4 transmits an inhibitory signal to T cells, whereas CD28 transmits a stimulatory signal. Intracellular CTLA4 is also found in regulatory T cells and may be important to their function. T cell activation through the T cell receptor and CD28 leads to increased expression of CTLA-4, an inhibitory receptor for B7 molecules.
The mechanism by which CTLA-4 acts in T cells remains somewhat controversial. Biochemical evidence suggested that CTLA-4 recruited a phosphatase to the T cell receptor, thus attenuating the signal This work remains unconfirmed in the literature since its first publication. More recent work has suggested that CTLA-4 may function in vivo by capturing and removing B7-1 and B7-2 from the membranes of antigen-presenting cells, thus making these unavailable for triggering of CD28 
CTLA-4 may also function via modulation of cell motility and/or signaling through PI3 kinase. Early multiphoton microscopy studies observing T-cell motility in intact lymph nodes appeared to give evidence for the so-called ‘reverse-stop signaling model’. In this model CTLA 4 reverses the TCR-induced ‘stop signal’ needed for firm contact between T cells and antigen-presenting cells (APCs). However, those studies compared CTLA-4 positive cells, which are predominantly regulatory cells and are at least partially activated, with CTLA-4 negative naive T cells. The disparity of these cells in multiple regards may explain some of these results. Other groups who have analyzed the effect of antibodies to CTLA-4 in vivo have concluded little or no effect upon motility  Recent evidence also suggests that antibodies to CTLA-4 may exert additional effects when used in vivo, by binding and thereby depleting regulatory T cells 
The protein contains an extracellular V domain, a transmembrane domain, and a cytoplasmic tail. Alternate splice variants, encoding different isoforms, have been characterized. The membrane-bound isoform functions as a homodimer interconnected by a disulfide bond, while the soluble isoform functions as a monomer. The intracellular domain is similar to that of CD28, in that it has no intrinsic catalytic activity and contains one YVKM motif able to bind PI3K, PP2A and SHP-2 and one proline-rich motif able to bind SH3 containing proteins. The first role of CTLA-4 in inhibiting T cell responses seem to be directly via SHP-2 and PP2A dephosphorylation of TCR-proximal signalling proteins such as CD3 and LAT. CTLA-4 can also affect signalling indirectly via competing with CD28 for CD80/86 binding. CTLA-4 can also bind PI3K, although the importance and results of this interaction are uncertain.
Mutations in this gene have been associated with insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus, Graves' disease, Hashimoto's thyroiditis, celiac disease, systemic lupus erythematosus, thyroid-associated orbitopathy, primary biliary cirrhosis and other autoimmune diseases.
Polymorphisms of the CTLA-4 gene are associated with autoimmune diseases such as autoimmune thyroid disease and multiple sclerosis, though this association is often weak. In Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE), the splice variant sCTLA-4 is found to be aberrantly produced and found in the serum of patients with active SLE.
Agonists to reduce immune activity
The comparatively higher binding affinity of CTLA4 has made it a potential therapy for autoimmune diseases. It plays a role in the initial immune response to and infection of immune cells by, HIV, along with the PD-1 pathway and others. Fusion proteins of CTLA4 and antibodies (CTLA4-Ig) have been used in clinical trials for rheumatoid arthritis. The fusion protein CTLA4-Ig is commercially available as Orencia (abatacept). A second generation form of CTLA4-Ig known as belatacept was recently approved by the FDA based on favorable results from the randomized Phase III BENEFIT (Belatacept Evaluation of Nephroprotection and Efficacy as First Line Immunosuppression) study. It was approved for renal transplantation in patients that are sensitized to EBV, or Epstein Barr Virus.
Antagonists to increase immune activity
Conversely, there is increasing interest in the possible therapeutic benefits of blocking CTLA4 (using antagonistic antibodies against CTLA such as ipilimumab (FDA approved for melanoma in 2011) as a means of inhibiting immune system tolerance to tumours and thereby providing a potentially useful immunotherapy strategy for patients with cancer. This is the first approved immune checkpoint blockade therapy.
CTLA-4 has been shown to interact with:
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- Arthritis Research & Therapy | Meeting Abstract | Abatacept (CTLA4Ig) treatment increases the remission rate in rheumatoid arthritis patients refractory to methotrexate treatment
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