Soluble Signal

An immune protein previously thought to mark inactive T cells has a free-floating form that correlates with HIV disease progression.

Jenny Rood
May 1, 2015

ON TARGET: A T cell expressing the protein Tim-3 (green) binds via T-cell receptors (red) to a cell targeted for destruction (blue). KIERA CLAYTON

EDITOR'S CHOICE IN IMMUNOLOGY

The paper
K.L. Clayton et al., “Soluble Tim-3 is shed from CD8+ T cells by the sheddase ADAM10, is increased in plasma during untreated HIV infection, and correlates with HIV disease progression,” J Virol, doi:10.1128/JVI.00006-15, 2015.

The molecule
The Tim-3 protein on the surface of T cells is thought to dampen the immune response to prevent harmful overactivation. But in HIV infections, this protective mechanism is hijacked to exhaust T-cell function. Previous studies had found soluble Tim-3 (sTim-3) in the blood of cancer patients, but the role of circulating Tim-3 in HIV infections was not known.

The association
Kiera Clayton and her colleagues in Mario Ostrowski’s lab at the University of Toronto, along with collaborators elsewhere, analyzed the blood of people...

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