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Immunity. 1998 Nov;9(5):637-47.

RAG reexpression and DNA recombination at T cell receptor loci in peripheral CD4+ T cells.

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Department of Immunology, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle 98195, USA.


Under most circumstances, allelic exclusion at the T cell receptor (TCR)beta locus is tightly regulated. Here, we describe a system in which TCRbeta allelic exclusion is overcome as a result of V(D)J recombination in peripheral CD4+ T cells. In TCRbeta chain transgenic mice, tolerogen-mediated chronic peripheral selection against cells expressing the transgene leads to surface expression of endogenous TCRbeta chains. Peripheral CD4+ T cells reexpress the recombination activating genes, RAG1 and RAG2, and contain signal end intermediates indicative of ongoing V(D)J recombination. The rescue from deletion of mature T cells expressing newly generated TCRbeta chains suggests that receptor revision plays a role in the maintenance of peripheral T cell tolerance.

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