DescriptionThe CD8 antigen is a disulfide-linked dimer, which exists either as a CD8α homodimer or as a CD8α/β heterodimer. CD8α is required for surface expression of CD8β. The molecular weight of each monomer of α or β is approximately 32-34 kDa. CD8 binds to a non-polymorphic domain (α3 domain) of MHC Class I molecules. CD8 is expressed on a subset of human peripheral blood T lymphocytes. A subset of NK cells possess the CD8 antigen but show low to medium density of expression. CD8α homodimer is expressed by NK cells and γ/δ+ T cells. CD8 is also present on most thymocytes where it is frequently co-expressed with CD4, and on a subpopulation of bone marrow cells. The CD8 molecule acts with the T Cell Receptor (TCR) as a coreceptor for MHC class I restricted antigen recognition. CD8 is widely used as a marker of cytotoxic T lymphocytes.
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