JOURNAL ARTICLE

A TCR alpha chain transgene induces maturation of CD4- CD8- alpha beta+ T cells from gamma delta T cell precursors

M Fritsch, A Andersson, K Petersson, F Ivars
European Journal of Immunology 1998, 28 (3): 828-37
9541577
The proportion of CD4- CD8- double-negative (DN) alpha beta T cells is increased both in the thymus and in peripheral lymphoid organs of TCR alpha chain-transgenic mice. In this report we have characterized this T cell population to elucidate its relationship to alpha beta and gamma delta T cells. We show that the transgenic DN cells are phenotypically similar to gamma delta T cells but distinct from DN NK T cells. The precursors of DN cells have neither rearranged endogenous TCR alpha genes nor been negatively selected by the MIsa antigen, suggesting that they originate from a differentiation stage before the onset of TCR alpha chain rearrangements and CD4/CD8 gene expression. Neither in-frame V delta D delta J delta nor V gamma J gamma rearrangements are over-represented in this population. However, since peripheral gamma delta T cells with functional TCR beta gene rearrangements have been depleted in the transgenics, we propose that the transgenic DN population, at least partially, originates from the precursors of those cells. The present data lend support to the view that maturation signals to gamma delta lineage-committed precursors can be delivered via TCR alpha beta heterodimers.

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