With the detailed description and analysis of several inhibitory receptor systems on lymphoid and myeloid cells, a central paradigm has emerged in which the pairing of activation and inhibition is necessary to initiate, amplify, and then terminate immune responses. In some cases, the activating and inhibitory receptors recognize similar ligands, and the net outcome is determined by the relative strength of these opposing signals. The importance of this modulation is demonstrated by the sometimes fatal autoimmune disorders observed in mice with targeted disruption of inhibitory receptors. The significance of these receptors is further evidenced by the conservation of immunoreceptor tyrosine-based inhibitory motifs during their evolution.
, vol. 290, no. 5489, pp. 84-89, 2000