Functions of Immune Checkpoint Molecules Beyond Immune Evasion

  • Yaping Zhang
  • Junke ZhengEmail author
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 1248)


Immune checkpoint molecules, including inhibitory and stimulatory immune checkpoint molecules, are defined as ligand–receptor pairs that exert inhibitory or stimulatory effects on immune responses. Most of the immune checkpoint molecules that have been described so far are expressed on cells of the adaptive immune system, particularly on T cells, and of the innate immune system. They are crucial for maintaining the self-tolerance and modulating the length and magnitude of immune responses of effectors in different tissues to minimize the tissue damage. More and more evidences have shown that inhibitory or stimulatory immune checkpoint molecules are expressed on a sizeable fraction of tumor types. Although the main function of tumor cell-associated immune checkpoint molecules is considered to mediate the immune evasion, it has been reported that the immune checkpoint molecules expressed on tumor cells also play important roles in the maintenance of many malignant behaviors, including self-renewal, epithelial–mesenchymal transition, metastasis, drug resistance, anti-apoptosis, angiogenesis, or enhanced energy metabolisms. In this section, we mainly focus on delineating the roles of the tumor cell-associated immune checkpoint molecules beyond immune evasion, such as PD-L1, PD-1, B7-H3, B7-H4, LILRB1, LILRB2, TIM3, CD47, CD137, and CD70.


Immune checkpoint Self-tolerance Inflammation Autoimmune disease Epithelial–mesenchymal transition 


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© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Hongqiao International Institute of Medicine, Shanghai Tongren Hospital, Key Laboratory of Cell Differentiation and Apoptosis of Chinese Ministry of Education, Faculty of Basic MedicineShanghai Jiao Tong University School of MedicineShanghaiChina

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