Send to

Choose Destination
Cell. 1993 Apr 23;73(2):237-47.

Evidence for a stochastic mechanism in the differentiation of mature subsets of T lymphocytes.

Author information

Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of California, San Francisco 94143-0414.


Thymocytes that coexpress the CD4 and CD8 glycoproteins differentiate into mature CD4+ helper or CD8+ cytotoxic cells depending on whether their antigen receptors are specific for MHC class II or class I molecules, respectively. The mechanism of this decision process was investigated in mice whose T cell development was biased toward the class II-specific lineage. We found that constitutive expression of CD4 allows a developmentally arrested population of thymocytes that have mismatched class II-specific TCRs and the CD8 coreceptor to be rescued and to acquire a cytotoxic phenotype. This result is consistent with a two-step process of thymocyte maturation, in which there is stochastic down-regulation of either CD4 or CD8 and subsequent selection based on the ability of the TCR and remaining coreceptor to engage the same MHC molecule.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center