The coinhibitory receptor, PD-1, is of major importance for the suppression of T cell activation in various types of immune responses. A high-resolution imaging study showed that PD-1 forms a coinhibitory signalosome, “PD-1 microcluster”, with the phosphatase, SHP2, to dephosphorylate the TCR/CD3 complex and its downstream signaling molecules. Such a consecutive reaction entirely depended on PD-1–PD-L1/2 binding. PD-L2 is expressed on professional antigen-presenting cells and also on some tumor cells, which possibly explains the discrepant efficacy of immune checkpoint therapy for PD-L1-negative tumors. Here, we performed precise imaging analysis of PD-L2 forming PD-1–PD-L2 clusters associating with SHP2. PD-L2 could compete with PD-L1 for binding to PD-1, occupying the same space at TCR microclusters. The PD-1 microcluster formation was inhibited by certain mAbs with functional consequences. Thus, PD-1 microcluster formation provides a visible index for the effectiveness of anti-PD-1- or anti-PD-L1/2-mediated T cell suppression. PD-L2 may exert immune suppressive responses cooperatively with PD-L1 on the microcluster scale.
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