The 53-7.3 monoclonal antibody specifically binds to a monomorphic epitope of CD5, a member of the scavenger receptor cysteine-rich protein superfamily and the major ligand of CD72, found on thymocytes, T lymphocytes, thymic NKT cells, and a subset of B lymphocytes, but not on NK cells or splenic NKT cells. The level of surface CD5 expression is developmentally regulated in the thymus, starting with low levels on CD4-CD8- thymocytes and increasing as they mature to CD4+CD8+ then CD4+CD8- or CD4-CD8+ thymocytes. Relatively high levels are maintained on peripheral T lymphocytes. The level of CD5 antigen detected on T helper cells has been reported to be somewhat higher than that on T cytotoxic/suppressor and B cells. Few, if any, intestinal intraepithelial lymphocytes bearing the γδ T-cell receptor express CD5. Phenotypic, anatomical, functional, developmental, and pathogenic characteristics of peripheral CD5+ B cells suggest that they may represent a distinct lineage, known as B-1 cells. The frequency of these CD5+ B cells has been reported to show strain-dependent variation. An additional population of CD5+ B lymphocytes resides in the thymus, where it matures from intrathymic B-cell progenitors. It has been proposed that CD5 is a costimulatory molecule which mediates interactions of cells in the immune system and negatively regulates signal transduction mediated by the T-cell receptor and B-cell receptor.