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Expression of T-cell receptor beta-chain mRNA and protein in gamma/delta T-cells from euthymic and athymic rats: implications for T-cell lineage divergence

Expression of T-cell receptor beta-chain mRNA and protein in gamma/delta T-cells from euthymic and athymic rats: implications for T-cell lineage divergence

Developmental Immunology 8(1): 19-30

ISSN/ISBN: 1044-6672

PMID: 11293809

DOI: 10.1155/2000/51534

The relationship between alpha/beta and gamma/delta T-cell lineages was studied in rats using RT-PCR analysis of TCRbeta transcripts in gamma/delta T-cell hybridomas and an intracellular staining technique to detect TCRbeta protein in primary gamma/delta T-cells. We report the presence of functional TCRbeta transcripts in 2/9 gamma/delta T-cell hybridomas. About 15% of peripheral gamma/delta T-cells and thymocytes also express TCRbeta protein, giving a minimum estimate for successful Tcrb rearrangement based on ex vivo single cell analysis. In athymic rats, gamma/delta T-cells expressing intracellular beta protein are present but at a lower frequency than in euthymic controls, suggesting that in the thymus, more gamma/delta T-cell precursors pass through a stage where functional beta rearrangement has occurred than in extrathymic sites. Analysis of TCR expression in purified transitory immature CD4-8+ (iCD8SP) thymocytes and their spontaneously developing CD4+8+ (DP) progeny showed that TCRy mRNA is expressed in iCD8SP cells but not in their immediate DP progeny that reinitiate RAG-I transcription and commence alpha/betaTCR expression. We conclude that rat gamma/delta T cells can separate from the alpha/beta lineage after TCRbeta expression, but not after entry into the DP compartment.

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Accession: 046047879

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