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Nature. 1989 Sep 7;341(6237):60-2.

Distinct antigen receptor repertoires of two classes of murine epithelium-associated T cells.

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Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, University of California, Berkeley 94720.


T lymphocytes are found not only as recirculating cells in the lymphoid system, but also as immobile cells in certain epithelia. T-cell antigen receptors (TCR) of both alpha/beta and gamma/delta-heterodimer subtypes can exhibit an extremely high degree of diversity. The diversity of alpha/beta TCRs derives from the use of a large number of variable (V) gene segments, as well as junctional diversity generated during rearrangement of these segments, whereas the diversity of gamma/delta TCRs derives largely from junctional elements, with a smaller contribution from a limited number of V gene segments. Many T cells in the epidermal and intestinal epithelia of mice express TCR composed of gamma/delta heterodimers. We demonstrate here that gamma/delta TCRs of T cells in both these tissues are restricted in V gene usage, with different elements predominating. The TCR junctional diversity of epidermal T cells, however, is extremely limited, whereas that of intestinal T cells is extremely diverse. The distinctive features of these two populations suggest that they develop or are selected differently for particular tissue-specific functions.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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