PDCD1 protein is a cell surface membrane protein of the immunoglobulin superfamily. It is expressed in pro-B-cells and is thought to play a role in their differentiation. In mice, expression of this gene is induced in the thymus when anti-CD3 antibodies are injected and large numbers of thymocytes undergo apoptosis. Mice deficient for this gene bred on a BALB/c background developed dilated cardiomyopathy and died from congestive heart failure. These studies suggest that this gene product may also be important in T cell function and contribute to the prevention of autoimmune diseases.