Two monoclonal antibodies (CLB-CD 27/1 and CLB-CD 27/2) were raised against a novel determinant on human T lymphocytes. One of these antibodies, CLB-CD 27/1 (clone 9F4), was grouped by the Third International Workshop and Conference on Human Leucocyte Differentiation Antigens together with three other monoclonal antibodies (VIT 14, OKT 18A, and S152) in the new cluster CD27. In this paper we show that antibodies belonging to this cluster recognize an antigen present on a large subset of peripheral T lymphocytes and most medullary thymocytes. At least two different nonoverlapping epitopes were identified with directly labeled monoclonal antibodies. Immunoprecipitation studies indicate that the target antigen of CD27 antibodies is a polypeptide of 55 kDa, which appears in the form of a disulfide-linked homodimer on the T lymphocyte membrane (Tp55). Stimulation of T cells via the T3/T cell antigen-receptor complex, with either phytohemagglutinin or CD3 monoclonal antibodies, resulted in a fivefold increase in the membrane expression of Tp55, whereas activation by phorbol myristate acetate caused a marked down-regulation. Moreover, an additional molecule of 32 kDa was precipitated from the membrane of activated but not of resting T cells. Addition of CD27 antibodies to cultures stimulated with either phytohemagglutinin or CD3 monoclonal antibody led to enhanced proliferation, whereas no effect was observed in phorbol myristate acetate or interleukin 2-stimulated cultures. The possible role of the Tp55 antigen in T cell activation is discussed.

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