In the present study, we showed that activation of human CD4 T cells can be induced by anti-CD3 and collagen in a serum-free system. This activation was inhibited by the addition of peptides containing the RGD or Gly-Pro-X sequences. Significantly, we demonstrated that both the 1F7 (CD26) structure and the VLA integrin family, particularly the VLA-3 complex, contribute to the functional interaction between collagen and CD4 cells since anti-1F7 and anti-VLA-3 specifically inhibited this collagen-induced CD4 cell activation. Biochemical studies showed that the 1F7 structure is not a member of the VLA integrin family. These results thus indicated that two different families of antigens serve as functional collagen receptors for CD4 T cell activation.

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