TIGIT, also known as V-set and transmembrane domain-containing protein 3 (VSTM3) or V-set and immunoglobulin domain-containing protein 9 (VSIG9) is a new surface protein containing an immunoglobulin variable domain, a transmembrane domain and an immunoreceptor tyrosine-based inhibitory motif (ITIM). TIGIT is expressed on regulatory, memory, activated T cells and NK cells. It binds PVR with high affinity, and PVRL2 with lower affinity, but not PVRL3. Knockdown of TIGIT with siRNA in human memory T cells did not affect T cell responses, however, TIGIT inhibits NK cytotoxicity directly through its ITIM. TIGIT suppresses T cell activation by promoting the generation of mature immunoregulatory dendritic cells. The binding of PVR to TIGIT on human dendritic cells enhanced the production of IL-1 and diminished the production of IL-12p4. In addition, TIGIT counter inhibits the NK-mediated killing of tumor cells and protects normal cells from NK-mediated cytotoxicity thus providing an "alternative self" mechanism for MHC class I inhibition.
T cell immunoreceptor with Ig and ITIM domains
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