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Cell. 1993 Jun 4;73(5):1041-9.

Peptide contributes to the specificity of positive selection of CD8+ T cells in the thymus.

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Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Department of Biology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge 02139.


Mice deficient in the gene encoding the peptide transporter associated with antigen processing (TAP1) have drastically reduced levels of surface expression of MHC class I molecules and few CD8+ T cells. Addition of class I binding peptides to cultured fetal thymi from TAP1 mutant mice invariably allowed the rescue of class I expression, while only some of these peptides promoted the positive selection of CD8+ T cells, which were polyclonal and specific for the peptide-MHC complex. A nonselecting peptide was converted to a mixture of selecting peptides when the residues involved in the interaction with TCRs were altered. A mixture of self-peptides derived from C57BL/6 thymi induced positive selection of CD8+ T cells at concentrations that gave relatively low class I surface expression. The implication of these observations is that self-peptides determine, in part, the repertoire of specificities exhibited by CD8+ T cells.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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