4-1BB ligand, a member of the TNF family, is important for the generation of antiviral CD8 T cell responses.J Immunol. 1999 Nov 01; 163(9):4859-68.JI
4-1BB (CD137) is a costimulatory molecule expressed on activated T cells and interacts with 4-1BB ligand (4-1BBL) on APCs. To investigate the role of 4-1BB costimulation for the development of primary immune responses, 4-1BBL-deficient (4-1BBL-/-) mice were infected with lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV). 4-1BBL-/- mice were able to generate CTL and eliminate acute LCMV infection with normal kinetics, but CD8 T cell expansion was 2- to 3-fold lower than in wild-type (+/+) mice. In the same mice, virus-specific CD4 Th and B cell responses were minimally affected, indicating that 4-1BB costimulation preferentially affects CD8 T cell responses. This result contrasts with our earlier work with CD40L-deficient (CD40L-/-) mice, in which the CD8 T cell response was unaffected and the CD4 T cell response was markedly impaired. When both 4-1BBL- and B7-dependent signals were absent, CD8 T cell expansion was further reduced, resulting in lower CTL activity and impairing their ability to clear LCMV. Altogether, these results indicate that T cells have distinct costimulatory requirements: optimal CD8 responses require 4-1BBL-dependent interactions, whereas CD4 responses are minimally affected by 4-1BB costimulation, but require CD40-CD40L and B7-dependent interactions.