Publications & Reports

A regulatory role for CD37 in T cell proliferation.

van Spriel AB, Puls KL, Sofi M, Pouniotis D, Hochrein H, Orinska Z, Knobeloch KP, Plebanski M, Wright MD
Leukocyte Membrane Protein Laboratory, Austin Research Institute, Victoria, Australia.


CD37 is a leukocyte-specific protein belonging to the tetraspanin superfamily. Previously thought to be predominantly a B cell molecule, CD37 is shown in this study to regulate T cell proliferation. CD37-deficient (CD37(-/-)) T cells were notably hyperproliferative in MLR, in response to Con A, or CD3-TCR engagement particularly in the absence of CD28 costimulation. Hyperproliferation was not due to differences in memory to naive T cell ratios in CD37(-/-) mice, apoptosis, or TCR down-modulation. Division cycle analyses revealed CD37(-/-) T cells to enter first division earlier than wild-type T cells. Importantly, proliferation of CD37(-/-) T cells was preceded by enhanced early IL-2 production. We hypothesized CD37 to be involved in TCR signaling and this was supported by the observation that CD4/CD8-associated p56(Lck) kinase activity was increased in CD37(-/-) T cells. Remarkably, CD37 cross-linking on human T cells transduced signals that led to complete inhibition of CD3-induced proliferation. In the presence of CD28 costimulation, CD37 engagement still significantly reduced proliferation. Taken together, these results demonstrate a regulatory role for CD37 in T cell proliferation by influencing early events of TCR signaling.


  • Journal: Journal of Immunology
  • Published: 01/03/2004
  • Volume: 172
  • Issue: 5
  • Pagination: 2953-2961