Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Antibodies can block immune receptor engagement or trigger the receptor machinery to initiate signaling. We hypothesized that antibody agonists trigger signaling by sterically excluding large receptor-type protein tyrosine phosphatases (RPTPs) such as CD45 from sites of receptor engagement. An agonist targeting the costimulatory receptor CD28 produced signals that depended on antibody immobilization and were sensitive to the sizes of the receptor, the RPTPs, and the antibody itself. Although both the agonist and a non-agonistic anti-CD28 antibody locally excluded CD45, the agonistic antibody was more effective. An anti–PD-1 antibody that bound membrane-proximally excluded CD45, triggered SHP2 phosphatase recruitment, and suppressed systemic lupus erythematosus and delayed-type hypersensitivity in experimental models. Paradoxically, nivolumab and pembrolizumab, anti–PD-1 blocking antibodies used clinically, also excluded CD45 and were agonistic in certain settings. Reducing these agonistic effects using antibody engineering improved PD-1 blockade. These findings establish a framework for developing new and improved therapies for autoimmunity and cancer.


Journal article





Publication Date



Simon J. Davis, University of Oxford, Radcliffe Department of Medicine, John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford, Oxon, OX3 9DS, United Kingdom


antibody, immune receptor, receptor signaling, kinetic-segregation model, immune checkpoint, lymphocyte