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CD2 (cluster of differentiation 2) is a cell adhesion molecule found on the surface of T cells and natural killer (NK) cells. It has also been called T-cell surface antigen T11/Leu-5, LFA-2,[1] LFA-3 receptor, erythrocyte receptor and rosette receptor.[2]


It interacts with other adhesion molecules, such as lymphocyte function-associated antigen-3 (LFA-3/CD58) in humans, or CD48 in rodents, which are expressed on the surfaces of other cells.[3]

In addition to its adhesive properties, CD2 also acts as a co-stimulatory molecule on T and NK cells.[4]

Diagnostic relevance

CD2 is a specific marker for T cells and NK cells, and can therefore be used in immunohistochemistry to identify the presence of such cells in tissue sections. The great majority of T cell lymphomas and leukaemias also express CD2, making it possible to use the presence of the antigen to distinguish these conditions from B cell neoplasms.[5]


Due to its structural characteristics, CD2 is a member of the immunoglobulin superfamily; it possesses two immunoglobulin-like domains in its extracellular portion.[4]


CD2 has been shown to interact with CD2BP2,[6] Lck[7] and PSTPIP1.[8]


  1. Sanchez-Madrid F, Krensky AM, Ware CF, Robbins E, Strominger JL, Burakoff SJ, Springer TA (1982). "Three distinct antigens associated with human T-lymphocyte-mediated cytolysis: LFA-1, LFA-2, and LFA-3". Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 79 (23): 7489–93. doi:10.1073/pnas.79.23.7489. PMC 347365. PMID 6984191.
  2. Uniprot database entry for CD2 (accession number P06729)
  3. Wilkins AL, Yang W, Yang JJ (2003). "Structural biology of the cell adhesion protein CD2: from molecular recognition to protein folding and design". Curr Protein Pept Sci. 4 (5): 367–73. doi:10.2174/1389203033487063. PMID 14529530.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Yang JJ, Ye Y, Carroll A, Yang W, Lee HW (2001). "Structural biology of the cell adhesion protein CD2: alternatively folded states and structure-function relation". Curr Protein Pept Sci. 2 (1): 1–17. doi:10.2174/1389203013381251. PMID 12369898.
  5. Leong, Anthony S-Y; Cooper, Kumarason; Leong, F Joel W-M (2003). Manual of Diagnostic Cytology (2 ed.). Greenwich Medical Media, Ltd. p. 61. ISBN 978-1-84110-100-2.
  6. Nishizawa K, Freund C, Li J, Wagner G, Reinherz EL (December 1998). "Identification of a proline-binding motif regulating CD2-triggered T lymphocyte activation". Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 95 (25): 14897–902. doi:10.1073/pnas.95.25.14897. PMC 24547. PMID 9843987.
  7. Bell GM, Fargnoli J, Bolen JB, Kish L, Imboden JB (January 1996). "The SH3 domain of p56lck binds to proline-rich sequences in the cytoplasmic domain of CD2". Journal of Experimental Medicine. 183 (1): 169–78. doi:10.1084/jem.183.1.169. PMC 2192399. PMID 8551220.
  8. Li J, Nishizawa K, An W, Hussey RE, Lialios FE, Salgia R, Sunder-Plassmann R, Reinherz EL (December 1998). "A cdc15-like adaptor protein (CD2BP1) interacts with the CD2 cytoplasmic domain and regulates CD2-triggered adhesion". EMBO J. 17 (24): 7320–36. doi:10.1093/emboj/17.24.7320. PMC 1171078. PMID 9857189.

Further reading

External links