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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1990 Jul;87(14):5248-52.

Homogenous junctional sequence of the V14+ T-cell antigen receptor alpha chain expanded in unprimed mice.

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  • 1Division of Molecular Immunology, School of Medicine, Chiba University, Japan.


Nucleotide sequences of VJ (variable-joining) junctional regions of V14+ alpha-chain T-cell receptor genes show that most V alpha 14+ T cells use one alpha chain (V alpha 14J alpha 281 with a one-nucleotide N region, which is frequently used in keyhole limpet hemocyanin-specific suppressor T-cell hybridomas) in unprimed mice. Moreover, the frequency of this alpha-chain expression was greater than 1.5% of the total alpha chains found in laboratory strains, including B10 congenic mice. This is about 10(4) times higher than was expected. The V14J281 alpha-chain expression was relatively low but was significant in CD4+/CD8+ immature thymocytes and became quite high in mature single-positive T cells, implying that this alpha chain is selected during T-cell maturation. V14J281 expression increased with time after birth and reached a maximum at around 5 weeks of age. The ligand seems to be a self molecule and to be present in laboratory strains but to be absent in a wild mouse, Mus musculus molossinus, because bone marrow chimeras clearly showed that bone marrow cells derived from Mus musculus molossinus negative for this alpha chain raised V14J281-positive T cells in a C57BL/6 environment. The above results suggest that there are some selection mechanisms for this cell type other than those for conventional alpha beta T cells and also that the homogenous VJ junction of the V14J281 alpha chain plays a pivotal role in the selection of the T cell and its ligand reactivity.

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