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Nature. 1990 Feb 22;343(6260):754-7.

Homing of a gamma delta thymocyte subset with homogeneous T-cell receptors to mucosal epithelia.

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Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge 02139.


In mice gamma delta T-cell populations with distinct T-cell receptor (TCR) repertoires and homing properties have been identified. Diversified populations are found in lymphoid organs and intestinal epithelia. By contrast, the gamma delta T-cells that have been found in the murine skin are homogeneous. They express a TCR consisting of one particular V gamma 5 and one particular V delta 1 chain and seem to originate from early fetal thymocytes. We have now systematically analysed many tissues by immunohistochemistry and TCR gene sequencing aided by the polymerase chain reaction. These studies revealed a second homogeneous gamma delta T-cell subset in epithelia not of the intestine and skin, but of the vagina, uterus and tongue. The TCR expressed by this gamma delta T-cell subset consists of the same V delta 1 chain. Cells that express this particular TCR have previously been shown to be positively selected in the late fetal thymus.

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