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Nat Immunol. 2002 Aug;3(8):772-9. Epub 2002 Jul 1.

Positive selection of MHC class Ib-restricted CD8(+) T cells on hematopoietic cells.

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Department of Immunology and Howard Hughes Medical Institute, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195, USA.


Unlike conventional CD8(+) T cells, major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class Ib-restricted CD8(+) T cells show an activated phenotype in uninfected mice and respond rapidly to foreign invaders. The underlying factors that contribute to these differences are not well understood. We show here that the activated phenotype of MHC class Ib-restricted CD8(+) T cells was partially acquired as a result of interactions in the thymus and reflected an increased capacity to be selected via interactions with MHC molecules on hematopoietic cells. Using bone marrow-chimeric mice, we have shown that MHC class Ib-restricted, but not MHC class Ia-restricted, CD8(+) T cells specific for Listeria monocytogenes were efficiently selected when MHC class I was expressed only on hematopoietic cells. Thus, the distinct functional properties of MHC class Ib-restricted versus MHC class Ia-restricted CD8(+) T cells may result, at least in part, from the different ways in which they are positively selected in the thymus.

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