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J Biol Chem. 2011 Jul 22;286(29):25611-9. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M111.239624. Epub 2011 May 23.

Flanking V and J sequences of complementary determining region 3 of T cell receptor (TCR) δ1 (CDR3δ1) determine the structure and function of TCRγ4δ1.

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  • 1Department of Immunology, Institute of Basic Medical Sciences, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences and School of Basic Medicine, Peking Union Medical College, National Key Laboratory of Medical Molecular Biology, Beijing 100005, China.


The γδ T cell receptor (TCR) differs from immunoglobulin and αβ TCR in its overall binding mode. In human, genes δ1, δ2, and δ3 are used for TCRδ chains. Previously, we have studied antigen binding determinants of TCRδ2 derived from dominant γδ T cells residing in peripheral blood. In this study we have investigated the critical determinants for antigen recognition and TCR function in TCRδ1 originated from gastric tumor-infiltrating γδ T lymphocytes using three independent experimental strategies including complementary determining region 3 (CDR3) of TCRδ1 (CDR3δ1)-peptide mediated binding, CDR3δ1-grafted TCR fusion protein-mediated binding, and TCRγ4δ1- and mutant-expressing cell-mediated binding. All three approaches consistently showed that the conserved flanking V and J sequences but not the diverse D segment in CDR3δ1 determine the antigen binding. Most importantly, we found that mutations in the V and J regions of CDR3δ1 also abolish the assembly of TCR and TCR-CD3 complexes in TCRγ4δ1-transduced J.RT3-T3.5 cells. Together with our previous studies on CDR3δ2 binding, our finding suggests that both human TCRδ1 and TCRδ2 recognize antigen predominately via flanking V and J regions. These results indicate that TCRγδ recognizes antigens using conserved parts in their CDR3, which provides an explanation for a diverse repertoire of γδTCRs only recognizing a limited number of antigens.

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