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Eur J Immunol. 1997 Sep;27(9):2279-89.

Double-positive T cell receptor(high) thymocytes are resistant to peptide/major histocompatibility complex ligand-induced negative selection.

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Laboratory of Immunobiology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


To investigate negative selection events during intrathymic ontogeny, we established T cell receptor (TCR)-transgenic mice [N15tg/RAG-2-/- (H-2b)] expressing a single TCR specific for vesicular stomatitis virus nuclear octapeptide N52-59 (VSV8) in the context of the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I molecule, K(b). Administration of VSV8 in vivo induced apoptosis in less than 4 h, deleting the majority of immature double-positive (DP) thymocytes by 24 h. In contrast, DP TCRhigh as well as single-positive (SP) thymocytes were refractory to this death process. Moreover, DP TCRhigh cells differentiated into SP thymocytes in vitro and in vivo, maturing into functional cytotoxic T lymphocytes upon intrathymic transfer to beta RAG 2-/- recipients. Hence, negative selection processes involving MHC-bound peptide ligands are operative only prior to the late DP thymocyte stage in this MHC class I-restricted TCR transgene system.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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