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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2002 Apr 30;99(9):6204-9.

Generation of functional antigen-specific T cells in defined genetic backgrounds by retrovirus-mediated expression of TCR cDNAs in hematopoietic precursor cells.

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Department of Biology, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA 91125, USA.


We have developed an alternative to transgenesis for producing antigen-specific T cells in vivo. In this system, clonal naive T cells with defined antigen specificity are generated by retrovirus-mediated expression of T cell antigen receptor cDNAs in RAG1-deficient murine hematopoietic precursor cells. These T cells can be stimulated to proliferate and produce cytokines by exposure to antigen in vitro, and they become activated and expand in vivo after immunization. IL-2-deficient T cells generated by this technique show decreased proliferation and cytokine production, both of which can be rescued by exogenous addition of this growth factor. Thus, retrovirus-mediated expression of T cell antigen receptor cDNAs in hematopoietic precursor cells permits the rapid and efficient analysis of the life history of antigen-specific T cells in different genetic backgrounds and may allow for the long-term production of antigen-specific T cells with different functional properties for prophylactic and therapeutic purposes.

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