T-cell receptor delta-chain can substitute for alpha to form a beta delta heterodimer

F. Hochstenbach, M. B. Brenner

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Specific monoclonal antibodies have made possible the identification of two T-cell antigen receptor (TCR) heterodimers, alpha beta TCR and gamma delta TCR. Formation of these receptors is largely separated by the preferential pairing of alpha-TCR with beta and gamma-TCR with delta, the sequential rearrangement and expression of the TCR loci during thymic development and the deletion of the delta-loci either prior to or concomitant with alpha-rearrangement in alpha beta TCR cells. Here we show that delta-TCR can substitute for alpha in pairing with beta to form a beta delta heterodimer. This receptor is expressed on the cell surface of the T-leukaemia cell line DND41 as analysed with beta- and delta-specific monoclonal antibodies. We suggest that a variety of factors including, for example, the deletion of the delta-TCR loci, can now be understood as exclusion mechanisms operating to prevent not only the formation of gamma delta receptors, but also of beta delta T-cell receptors, thereby promoting the numerically dominant alpha beta TCR lineage. Nevertheless, some developing T-cells that do not rearrange the alpha-loci may express the beta delta TCR as described here
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)562-565
Issue number6234
Publication statusPublished - 1989

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