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J Immunol. 2003 Apr 15;170(8):3986-93.

LIGHT (a cellular ligand for herpes virus entry mediator and lymphotoxin receptor)-mediated thymocyte deletion is dependent on the interaction between TCR and MHC/self-peptide.

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Department of Pathology and Committee on Immunology, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL 60637, USA.


Negative selection serves as a major mechanism to maintain self-tolerance. We previously reported that LIGHT (a cellular ligand for herpes virus entry mediator and lymphotoxin receptor), a TNF family member, plays an important role in thymocyte development via promoting apoptosis of double-positive thymocytes. Here, we demonstrated that LIGHT-mediated deletion of thymocyte requires the strong interaction of TCR with MHC/self-peptide. Transgenic mice overexpressing LIGHT in thymocytes were bred with a transgenic mouse line expressing a TCR recognizing the H-Y male Ag in the context of H-2b class I MHC molecules. In male H-Y/LIGHT double-transgenic mice, more efficient negative selection of H-Y T cells occurred, and total thymocyte number was further reduced compared with H-Y/negative littermates. In contrast, the presence of LIGHT transgene had no evident impact on the thymocyte development of female H-Y/LIGHT double-transgenic mice. Taken together, LIGHT plays a role in negative selection of thymocytes via inducing the apoptosis of thymocytes bearing high affinity TCR during negative selection.

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