Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Endoscopy, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, 75 Francis Street, Boston, MA, 02115, USA. Electronic address: [Email]
The type I membrane protein receptor carcinoembryonic antigen-related cell adhesion molecule 1 (CEACAM1) distinctively exhibits significant alternative splicing that allows for tunable functions upon homophilic binding. CEACAM1 is highly expressed in the tumor environment and is strictly regulated on lymphocytes such that its expression is restricted to activated cells where it is now recognized to function in tolerance pathways. CEACAM1 is also an important target for microbes which have co-opted these attributes of CEACAM1 for the purposes of invading the host and evading the immune system. These properties, among others, have focused attention on CEACAM1 as a unique target for immunotherapy in autoimmunity and cancer. This review examines recent structural information derived from the characterization of CEACAM1:CEACAM1 interactions and heterophilic modes of binding especially to microbes and how this relates to CEACAM1 function. Through this, we aim to provide insights into targeting CEACAM1 for therapeutic intervention.