Differential expression of two distinct T-cell receptors during thymocyte development

Drew M. Pardoll, B. J. Fowlkes, Jeffrey A. Bluestone, Ada Kruisbeek, W. L. Maloy, John E. Coligan, Ronald H. Schwartz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The product of the T-cell receptor (TCR) γ-gene1 has recently been found to be expressed on a subset of both peripheral cells 2 and thymocytes3,4. As an initial approach to understanding the role of this γ-chain of TCR (TCRγ) in T-cell development, we have studied the ontogeny of TCR expression at the protein level in the developing murine thymus. We show here that the first T3-associated TCR to be expressed in the developing thymus is a disulphide-linked heterodimer composed of a γ-chain of relative molecular mass 35,000 (Mr 35K) and a 45K partner (termed TCR δ). This TCR γδ is first detected approximately two days before the appearance of cell-surface TCR αβ heterodimers. We report that N-glycosidase digestions reveal that all of the γ-protein expressed on fetal thymocytes, as in adult CD4 -8- (L3T4-, Lyt2-) thymocytes 4, bear N-linked carbohydrate side chains. The major γ-gene transcribed in mature, αβ-bearing T cells ( Vγ 1.2 Cγ2) encodes no N-linked glycosylation site 1 so these results suggest that the fetal γδ receptor defines a distinct T-cell lineage whose development in the thymus precedes classical αβ -bearing cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)79-81
Number of pages3
JournalNature
Volume326
Issue number6108
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 1987

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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