The T cell Ig domain and mucin domain (TIM) proteins form a conserved family of transmembrane cell-surface glycoproteins expressed by a variety of tissues. Each TIM protein contains a single V-type Ig domain, a glycosylated mucin-like domain, a transmembrane domain and a cytoplasmic domain. TIM proteins recognize a diverse array of ligands, including H-ferritin, galectin-9 as well as other TIM family members. In this study, we demonstrate that the Ig domains of murine TIM-1, -3 and -4 display calcium-dependent binding to ligands expressed by murine splenocytes and several non-murine cell lines, indicating non-species-specific ligand recognition. Further, the intrafamilial interaction of various TIM family Ig domains with surface-expressed TIM-1 and TIM-4 requires an intact TIM-1 and TIM-4 glycosylated mucin stalk. Importantly, we also uncovered the previously unrecognized potential for homotypic TIM interactions in forming ligand-receptor pairs. Using a glycan array screen, we identified the novel capacity of the TIM-3 Ig domain to recognize specific carbohydrate moieties, suggesting a role for carbohydrate modification along with protein epitopes in TIM ligand recognition. Identification of the carbohydrate-binding capacity of TIM proteins helps explain the diversity of ligands recognized by this family and adds to our understanding of homotypic and heterotypic interactions between TIM family members.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)763-773
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Immunology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2007


  • Ligands
  • T lymphocytes
  • Tetramers


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