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Eur J Immunol. 1995 May;25(5):1257-61.

Regulation of T cell receptor (TCR)-beta locus allelic exclusion and initiation of TCR-alpha locus rearrangement in immature thymocytes by signaling through the CD3 complex.

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Max-Planck-Institut für Immunbiologie, Freiburg, Germany.


During thymocyte differentiation, the T cell receptor (TCR)-beta genes are rearranged before the TCR-alpha genes. Immature CD4-8- double-negative thymocytes with a productive rearrangement of the TCR-beta locus are selected to continue maturation to the CD4+8+ double-positive stage, driven by signals through the pre-TCR. The signals through the pre-TCR can be synchronized by injection of mice with anti-CD3 epsilon monoclonal antibody. Using this approach, we demonstrated coordinated induction of a triad of responses in immature thymocytes: arrest of V to DJ rearrangement in the TCR-beta locus, transient down-regulation of rearrangement-activating gene (RAG)-1 and RAG-2 transcripts, and initiation of germ-line transcription of the TCR-alpha locus. These results suggest that the transition from TCR-beta to TCR-alpha locus rearrangement is controlled by signal transduction through the pre-TCR.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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