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Mol Immunol. 2000 Nov;37(16):1005-12.

Pairing of Vbeta6 with certain Valpha2 family members prevents T cell deletion by Mtv-7 superantigen.

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CEA-Grenoble, DBMS/Laboratoire d'Immunochimie, INSERM U238, 17 rue des Martyrs, 38054 Cedex 9, Grenoble, France.


Superantigens (SAg) are proteins of bacterial or viral origin able to activate T cells by forming a trimolecular complex with both MHC class II molecules and the T cell receptor (TCR), leading to clonal deletion of reactive T cells in the thymus. SAg interact with the TCR through the beta chain variable region (Vbeta), but the TCR alpha chain has been shown to have an influence on the T cell reactivity. We have investigated here the role of the TCR alpha chain in the modulation of T cell reactivity to Mtv-7 SAg by comparing the peripheral usage of Valpha2 in Vbeta6(+) (SAg-reactive) and Vbeta8.2(+) (SAg non-reactive) T cells, in either BALB/D2 (Mtv-7(+)) or BALB/c (Mtv-7(-)) mice. The results show, first, that pairing of Vbeta6 with certain Valpha2 family members prevents T cell deletion by Mtv-7 SAg. Second, there is a strikingly different distribution of the Valpha2 family members in CD4 and CD8 populations of Vbeta6 but not of Vbeta8.2 T cells, irrespective of the presence of Mtv-7 SAg. Third, the alpha chain may play a role in the overall stability of the TCR/SAg/MHC complex. Taken together, these results suggest that the Valpha domain contributes to the selective process by its role in the TCR reactivity to SAg/MHC class II complexes, most likely by influencing the orientation of the Vbeta domain in the TCR alphabeta heterodimer.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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