Cluster of differentiation

From Academic Kids

Cluster of Differentiation (CD) molecules are markers on the cell surface, as recognized by specific sets of antibodies, used to identify the cell type, stage of differentiation and activity state of a cell.

Contents

Nomenclature

The CD nomenclature was proposed and established in the 1st International Workshop and Conference on Human Leukocyte Differentiation Antigens (HLDA), which was held in Paris, France in 1982. This system was intended for the classification of the many monoclonal antibodies, generated by different laboratories around the world, against various surface molecules (antigens) on leukocytes (white blood cells). Since then, the use has expanded to other cell types, and more than 150 CD clusters and subclusters have been identified.

Uses

CD molecules are often referred to when sorting cells by flow cytometry. A '+' or a '–' symbol is used to indicate if a certain fraction of cells possesses or lacks a CD molecule, e.g. "CD34+, CD31–" = expressing CD34, but not CD31.

The most commonly referred to CD molecules are CD4 and CD8, which are markers for two different sub-types of T-lymphocytes. The relative abundance of CD4+ and CD8+ cells reflects the state of one's immune system, and the CD4/CD8 ratio is often used to monitor the progression of an HIV infection.

Examples

CD molecules are not merely markers on the cell surface. Not every CD molecule has been thoroughly characterised, but most of them bring important features to the cells that carry them. For example,

External links

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