CD226 and TIGIT Cooperate in the Differentiation and Maturation of Human Tfh Cells

Motoko Yasutomi, Allison F. Christiaansen, Naoko Imai, Natalia Martin-Orozco, Christian V. Forst, Gang Chen, Hideki Ueno

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Costimulation pathways play an essential role in T cell activation, differentiation, and regulation. CD155 expressed on antigen-presenting cells (APCs) interacts with TIGIT, an inhibitory costimulatory molecule, and CD226, an activating costimulatory molecule, on T cells. TIGIT and CD226 are expressed at varying levels depending on the T cell subset and activation state. T follicular helper cells in germinal centers (GC-Tfh) in human tonsils express high TIGIT and low CD226. However, the biological role of the CD155/TIGIT/CD226 axis in human Tfh cell biology has not been elucidated. To address this, we analyzed tonsillar CD4+ T cell subsets cultured with artificial APCs constitutively expressing CD155. Here we show that CD226 signals promote the early phase of Tfh cell differentiation in humans. CD155 signals promoted the proliferation of naïve CD4+ T cells and Tfh precursors (pre-Tfh) isolated from human tonsils and upregulated multiple Tfh molecules and decreased IL-2, a cytokine detrimental for Tfh cell differentiation. Blocking CD226 potently inhibited their proliferation and expression of Tfh markers. By contrast, while CD155 signals promoted the proliferation of tonsillar GC-Tfh cells, their proliferation required only weak CD226 signals. Furthermore, attenuating CD226 signals rather increased the expression of CXCR5, ICOS, and IL-21 by CD155-stimulated GC-Tfh cells. Thus, the importance of CD226 signals changes according to the differentiation stage of human Tfh cells and wanes in mature GC-Tfh cells. High TIGIT expression on GC-Tfh may play a role in attenuating the detrimental CD226 signals post GC-Tfh cell maturation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number840457
JournalFrontiers in Immunology
StatePublished - 22 Feb 2022


  • CD155
  • CD226 (DNAM-1)
  • T follicular helper (Tfh) cell
  • human


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