Characterization of Oligomers Induced by Inverse Agonists of CTLA-4
Although cytotoxic T lymphocyte-associated antigen-4 (CTLA-4) inhibits T cell activation when ligated by B7 molecules on antigen-presenting cells, it can also act as an activating receptor when binding certain soluble recombinant ligands known as inverse agonists. Following ligation with an inverse agonist, we observed CTLA-4 microclusters evenly distributed on the T cell surface over a 60-min period. We have previously shown that the inverse agonist properties of these ligands correlate with their capacity to induce the formation of large CTLA-4 oligomers that are distinctly different from those resulting by CTLA-4 engagement with membrane-bound B7. These oligomers are composed of CTLA-4 molecules expressed on the cell surface and decrease from both the soluble cell lysate and lipid rafts upon cellular fractionation. Formation of these inverse agonist-induced CTLA-4 oligomers does not require an intact actin cytoskeleton. However, modulation of these oligomers was partially blocked upon actin depolymerization. Retention of CTLA-4 oligomers on the cell surface correlated with enhanced T cell signaling. Together, our data further characterize the structural basis of inverse agonist properties for CTLA-4 ligands that may be used in the design and screening of therapeutic biologicals targeting this receptor.