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J Exp Med. 1998 Dec 21;188(12):2301-11.

CD5 expression is developmentally regulated by T cell receptor (TCR) signals and TCR avidity.

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Laboratory of Mammalian Genes and Development, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20892, USA.


Recent data indicate that the cell surface glycoprotein CD5 functions as a negative regulator of T cell receptor (TCR)-mediated signaling. In this study, we examined the regulation of CD5 surface expression during normal thymocyte ontogeny and in mice with developmental and/or signal transduction defects. The results demonstrate that low level expression of CD5 on CD4(-)CD8(-) (double negative, DN) thymocytes is independent of TCR gene rearrangement; however, induction of CD5 surface expression on DN thymocytes requires engagement of the pre-TCR and is dependent upon the activity of p56(lck). At the CD4(+)CD8(+) (double positive, DP) stage, intermediate CD5 levels are maintained by low affinity TCR-major histocompatibility complex (MHC) interactions, and CD5 surface expression is proportional to both the surface level and signaling capacity of the TCR. High-level expression of CD5 on DP and CD4(+) or CD8(+) (single positive, SP) thymocytes is induced by engagement of the alpha/beta-TCR by (positively or negatively) selecting ligands. Significantly, CD5 surface expression on mature SP thymocytes and T cells was found to directly parallel the avidity or signaling intensity of the positively selecting TCR-MHC-ligand interaction. Taken together, these observations suggest that the developmental regulation of CD5 in response to TCR signaling and TCR avidity represents a mechanism for fine tuning of the TCR signaling response.

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