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Nature. 1988 Jul 14;334(6178):156-9.

T-cell-specific deletion of T-cell receptor transgenes allows functional rearrangement of endogenous alpha- and beta-genes.

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Central Research Unit, F. Hoffmann-La Roche & Co. Ltd, Basel, Switzerland.


In B cells the loci encoding immunoglobulin chains usually show allelic exclusion; a given B cell transcribes and translates only one productively rearranged allele of the heavy and light chain loci. This ensures that each B cell expresses only one antigen receptor. The loci encoding T-cell receptor (TCR) alpha- and beta-genes may behave similarly. We have previously reported that the expression of a transgenic TCR beta-chain prevents functional and nonfunctional V beta rearrangements in the endogenous beta-chain loci but not D beta J beta rearrangements. We have also been unable to detect the expression of the TCR gamma-chain locus in thymocytes of these mice (unpublished observations). To study the mechanisms involved in forming a mature T-cell repertoire further, we have constructed mice expressing alpha- and beta-TCR transgenes derived from a cytotoxic T-cell clone that is specific for the male antigen H-Y in the context of H-2Db MHC molecules. Here we show that in these mice rearrangement of endogenous alpha-chain loci is also suppressed, although to a lesser extent than rearrangement of beta-chain loci. In addition, in male alpha beta TCR transgenic mice we observed T-cell clones which had deleted both transgenic alpha- and beta-chain genes and expressed endogenous alpha- and beta-chain TCR genes. These cells are presumably derived from rare thymocytes that leave the male thymus because their TCR no longer recognizes self antigen. The vast majority of CD4+8+ nonmature thymocytes expressing alpha- and beta-transgenes are deleted in the male thymus.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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