The T cell immunoglobulin mucin (TIM) proteins are type I membrane glycoproteins expressed on T cells and containing common structural motifs. While our understanding on the distribution and functions of TIM family members is still incomplete, data from several recent reports indicate that these proteins, together with T cell receptor and costimulatory signals, regulate the expansion and effector functions of T helper cells. In the current review, we provide evidences indicating that TIM-3 is capable of modulating the function of CD4+CD25+ regulatory T cells and inhibiting aggressive Th1 mediated auto- and allo-immune responses. Similarly, additional data suggest that TIM-2 molecules function by negatively regulating Th2 immune responses. In contrast, TIM-1 appears to be an activation molecule for all T cells, although the mechanisms through which TIM-1 activates T cells remain to be elicited.
One contribution of 16 to a Theme Issue ‘Immunoregulation: harnessing T cell biology for therapeutic benefit’.
- © 2005 The Royal Society