Costimulatory signals through B7.1/CD28 prevent T cell apoptosis during target cell lysis


  • P.T. Daniel
  • A. Kroidl
  • S. Cayeux
  • R.C. Bargou
  • T. Blankenstein
  • B. Doerken


  • Journal of Immunology


  • J Immunol 159 (8): 3808-3815


  • Expression of B7 on tumor cells can circumvent T cell tolerance and lead to the generation of tumor cell-specific T cell immunity. The effect of B7 expression on the generation of protective antitumor immunity has been attributed primarily to 1) more efficient T cell activation and 2) better generation of tumor-specific killer T cells. We have investigated the role of costimulation through B7.1 and its receptor, the CD28 molecule, in the generation of allogeneic human CTLs against MCF-7 breast cancer cells. In this setting, we describe how activated CTLs undergo activation-induced cell death upon killing the target cell. Instead of proliferation and clonal expansion, the majority of the CTLs underwent apoptotic cell death. CTL apoptosis could be blocked by 50% when binding of the Fas ligand to its receptor, the CD95 (APO-1/Fas) molecule, was prevented. Fas ligand was detected in the activated T cells, but not in MCF-7 or a panel of other breast cancer cell lines. This excludes an active role for MCF-7 during CTL death and indicates that the CTL apoptosis is due to an autocrine production of the Fas ligand by CTLs. Costimulation of CTLs by retrovirally B7.1-transfected MCF-7 drastically reduced the sensitivity of the CTLs to apoptosis during target contact. Thus, in tumor cell vaccination, B7.1 might play a major role in preventing T cell death by altering T cell susceptibility for apoptosis.