FCCC LOGO Faculty Publications
Dave VP , Allman D , Wiest DL , Kappes DJ
Limiting TCR expression leads to quantitative but not qualitative changes in thymic selection
Journal of Immunology. 1999 May 15;162(10) :5764-5774
PMID: ISI:000080240200016   
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Thymic selection is controlled in part by the avidity of the interaction between thymocytes and APCs, In agreement, the selective outcome can be modulated by altering the expression levels of selecting ligands on APCs, Here we test the converse proposition, i.e., whether changing TCR levels on thymocytes can alter the selective outcome. To this end, we have generated mice in which all thymocytes express two transgenic TCRs simultaneously (dual TCR-expressing (DTE) mice), the class I- restricted HY TCR and the class II-restricted AND TCR, Due to mutual dilution, surface expression levels of the two individual transgenic TCRs are diminished in DTE relative to single TCR-expressing mice, We find that thymic selection is highly sensitive to these reductions in TCR surface expression. Positive selection mediated by the AND and HY TCRs is severely impaired or abolished, respectively. Negative selection of the HY TCR in male DTE mice is also partly blocked, leading to the appearance of significant numbers of double positive thymocytes. Also, in the periphery of male, but not female, DTE mice, substantial numbers of single positive CD8(bright) cells accumulate, which are positively selected in the thymus but by a highly inefficient hemopoietic cell-dependent process, Overall our results favor the interpretation that the outcome of thymic selection is not determined solely by avidity and the resulting signal intensity, but is also constrained by other factors such as the nature of the ligand and/or its presentation by different subsets of APCs.
Times Cited: 6 English Article 195FP J IMMUNOL