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J Immunol. 2001 Apr 1;166(7):4525-33.

The TCR repertoire of an immunodominant CD8+ T lymphocyte population.

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  • 1Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02215, USA.


The TCR repertoire of an epitope-specific CD8(+) T cell population remains poorly characterized. To determine the breadth of the TCR repertoire of a CD8(+) T cell population that recognizes a dominant epitope of the AIDS virus, the CD8(+) T cells recognizing the tetrameric Mamu-A*01/p11C(,CM) complex were isolated from simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV)-infected Mamu-A*01(+) rhesus monkeys. This CD8(+) T cell population exhibited selected usage of TCR V beta families and complementarity-determining region 3 (CDR3) segments. Although the epitope-specific CD8(+) T cell response was clearly polyclonal, a dominance of selected V beta(+) cell subpopulations and clones was seen in the TCR repertoire. Interestingly, some of the selected V beta(+) cell subpopulations and clones maintained their dominance in the TCR repertoire over time after infection with SIV of macaques. Other V beta(+) cell subpopulations declined over time in their relative representation and were replaced by newly evolving clones that became dominant. The present study provides molecular evidence indicating that the TCR repertoire shaped by a single viral epitope is dominated at any point in time by selected V beta(+) cell subpopulations and clones and suggests that dominant V beta(+) cell subpopulations and clones can either be stable or evolve during a chronic infection.

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