Send to

Choose Destination
Cell. 2005 Jul 29;122(2):247-60.

How the T cell repertoire becomes peptide and MHC specific.

Author information

Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Integrated Department of Immunology, National Jewish Medical and Research Center, Denver, Colorado 80206, USA.


T cells bearing alphabeta T cell receptors (TCRs) recognize antigens in the form of peptides bound to class I or class II major histocompatibility proteins (MHC). TCRs on mature T cells are usually very specific for both peptide and MHC class and allele. They are picked out from a precursor population in the thymus by MHC-driven positive and negative selection. Here we show that the pool of T cells initially positively selected in the thymus contains many T cells that are very crossreactive for peptide and MHC and that subsequent negative selection establishes the MHC-restriction and peptide specificity of peripheral T cells. Our results also suggest that germline-encoded TCR variable elements have an inherent predisposition to react with features shared by all MHC proteins.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center