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Nature. 1988 Oct 20;335(6192):730-3.

Positive selection of antigen-specific T cells in thymus by restricting MHC molecules.

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Basel Institute for Immunology, Switzerland.


Thymus-derived lymphocytes (T cells) recognize antigen in the context of class I or class II molecules encoded by the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) by virtue of the heterodimeric alpha beta T-cell receptor (TCR). CD4 and CD8 molecules expressed on the surface of T cells bind to nonpolymorphic portions of class II and class I MHC molecules and assist the TCR in binding and possibly in signalling. The analysis of T-cell development in TCR transgenic mice has shown that the CD4/CD8 phenotype of T cells is determined by the interaction of the alpha beta TCR expressed on immature CD4+8+ thymocytes with polymorphic domains of thymic MHC molecules in the absence of nominal antigen. Here we provide direct evidence that positive selection of antigen-specific, class I MHC-restricted CD4-8+ T cells in the thymus requires the specific interaction of the alpha beta TCR with the restricting class I MHC molecule.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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