Commentary: Regulated equilibrium between opposite signals: A general paradigm for T cell function?

Alessandro Moretta, Cristina Bottino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The co-signaling receptors specific for the different members of the B7 molecular family are cell surface glycoproteins that are essential to modulate and tune the TCR-mediated activation of T lymphocytes. The common characteristic is that their function appears to be dependent on the engagement of TCR by antigenic peptides presented in the MHC context by antigen-presenting cells. Interestingly, co-signaling molecules can be distinguished into costimulators and co-inhibitors, the prototype being represented by CD28 and CTLA-4, respectively. In the case of costimulators, the co-signals integrate the signal originated from the TCR resulting in optimal T cell activation (two-signal model). In the case of co-inhibitors, the co-signals would moderate and/or switch off the Ag-dependent T cell activation, thus acting as negative regulators of immune responses. The growing number of novel co-signaling molecules has recently highlighted the need to integrate the two-signal model with the emerging data on the different co-inhibitory interactions. Thus, a model has been proposed based on the idea that the TCR signal alone cannot take a full decision on the nature of the functional outcome following an antigen-specific stimulation and that this final event is governed by the co-signaling molecules.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2084-2088
Number of pages5
JournalEuropean Journal of Immunology
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2004



  • B7 family members
  • Co-signaling receptors
  • T cell activation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology

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