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J Immunol. 1991 Jan 1;146(1):35-9.

T cell receptor/CD3-signaling induces death by apoptosis in human T cell receptor gamma delta + T cells.

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  • 1Institute of Immunology, University of Heidelberg, Federal Republic of Germany.


mAb directed against the TCR/CD3 complex activate resting T cells. However, TCR/CD3 signaling induces death by apoptosis in immature (CD4+CD8+) murine thymocytes and certain transformed leukemic T cell lines. Here we show that anti-TCR and anti-CD3 mAb induce growth arrest of cloned TCR-gamma delta + T cells in the presence of IL-2. In the absence of exogenous IL-2, however, the very same anti-TCR/CD3 mAb stimulated gamma delta (+)-clones to proliferation and IL-2 production. In the presence of exogenous IL-2, anti-TCR/CD3 mAb induced the degradation of DNA into oligosomal bands of approximately 200 bp length in cloned gamma delta + T cells. This pattern of DNA fragmentation is characteristic for the programmed cell death termed apoptosis. These results demonstrate that TCR/CD3 signaling can induce cell death in cloned gamma delta + T cells. In addition, this report is the first to show that apoptosis triggered by TCR/CD3 signaling is not restricted to CD4+CD8+ immature thymocytes and transformed leukemic T cell lines but can be also observed with IL-2-dependent normal (i.e., TCR-gamma delta +) T cells.

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