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Nature. 1993 Aug 19;364(6439):729-32.

Helper T-cell development in the absence of CD4-p56lck association.

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Howard Hughes Medical Institute, University of California, San Francisco 94143-0414.


The CD4 and CD8 glycoproteins are expressed on helper and cytoxic T lymphocytes, respectively, and have important functions in the differentiation and activation of these cells. These molecules are thought to participate in signal transduction by binding to the same class II or class I major histocompatibility complex molecules that are engaged by the T-cell antigen receptor. The cytoplasmic domains of both CD4 and CD8 interact with the protein tyrosine kinase p56lck (refs 14-17), an essential participant in thymocyte maturation and T-cell activation. This interaction is required for effective in vitro responses to antigen, suggesting that signalling through p56lck is a major function of CD4 and CD8. Here we investigate the role of the CD4-p56lck interaction during T-lymphocyte development by expressing wild-type and truncated products of CD4 transgenes in mice that lack endogenous CD4 and hence have defective helper-cell development. We find that transgenic CD4, which cannot associate with p56lck, can nevertheless rescue the helper-cell lineage when overexpressed. This result indicates that the contribution of CD4 to lineage development need not involve signalling through p56lck, and provides insight into the general function of CD4 and CD8.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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