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Nature. 1987 Mar 19-25;326(6110):307-9.

Dominance of one T-cell receptor in the H-2Kb/TNP response.


T-cell receptors (TCRs) recognize foreign antigens in the context of major histocompatibility complex (MHC)-encoded cell surface proteins. These receptors are heterogeneous, dimeric glycoproteins composed of disulphide linked alpha- and beta-chains. We analysed the diversity of TCRs in a collection of H-2Kb-restricted, 2,4,6-trinitrophenyl (TNP)-specific (H-2Kb/TNP) cytotoxic T-cell (Tc) clones from C57BL/6 mice. Investigation of the beta-chain messenger RNAs revealed that nearly half of these independent clones expressed an identical beta-chain gene. We show here that almost all the Tc clones expressing the predominant beta-chain gene also express an identical alpha-chain gene. These results show that a strong selective pressure acted on the Tc population, resulting in a skewing of the TCR repertoire for H-2Kb/TNP and in the dominant expression of one TCR with this specificity. Possible explanations for this skewing include antigen-driven clonal expansion and network interactions.

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