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J Immunol. 1997 Dec 1;159(11):5285-92.

Role of Thy-1 in T cell development.

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Department of Biology and the Cancer Center, University of California at San Diego, La Jolla 92093, USA.


Tolerance to self proteins is accomplished in part by elimination of autoreactive immature T cells as they develop in the thymus. Although many investigators have studied the cellular interactions that regulate this important process, the specific molecules involved in negative selection are still not well understood. Thy-1 is a glycosyl-phosphatidylinositol-linked protein that is expressed at high levels on immature thymocytes, and recent evidence suggests that it is involved in thymocyte apoptosis. Correspondingly, we have found that Abs to Thy-1 block Ag-dependent thymocyte deletion in an in vitro culture system. Thus, we investigated the role of Thy-1 in T cell development by using Thy-1 -deficient mice containing a TCR transgene specific for a class II MHC-restricted Ag. With this system, the role of Thy-1 in Ag-specific self-restriction and self-tolerance could be analyzed. Thy-1-null mice were found to undergo normal negative selection in three different models: the in vitro culture system, anti-CD3-induced thymocyte deletion in vivo, and Ag-induced thymocyte deletion in vivo. Self-restriction to MHC class II also appeared to occur normally in Thy-1-null mice. These results therefore suggest that Thy-1 is not essential for either self-restriction or self-tolerance to MHC class II-restricted Ags. This finding is discussed in light of recent data regarding the role of other glycosyl-phosphatidylinositol-linked proteins in thymocyte development.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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