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Eur J Immunol. 1990 Oct;20(10):2249-57.

Molecular associations on the T cell surface correlate with immunological memory.

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Section of Immunobiology, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06510.


Different isoforms of CD45 are expressed on naive and memory CD4 T cells in the mouse, as revealed by an antibody to a set of isoforms of CD45 that utilize exon B, called CD45RB. Cloned TH1 and TH2 lines also differ for expression of isoforms detected by this antibody. Differential expression of CD45 isoforms correlates with different behavior of cell surface molecules involved in transmembrane signal transduction. On naive T cells, CD4, CD45 and the CD3/T cell receptor complex behave as independent entities. On memory T cells, these three molecules are stably associated on the T cell surface. Furthermore, on TH2 cells, which express intermediate levels of CD45RB, CD4 is stably associated with CD45 isoforms other than CD45RB, but this complex is not associated with the CD3/T cell receptor. These results lead us to propose that immunological memory in CD4 T cells consists of an altered structure of the T cell's specific signal transduction apparatus controlled by low-molecular weight CD45 isoforms. This altered receptor structure would allow the more sensitive triggering of the T cell characteristic of memory cells. The organization of multimolecular signal transduction systems may be a general means by which cells alter their physiological behavior, allowing the acquisition of new phenotypic characteristics.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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