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T-Cell Receptor Genes

Mutant Mice and Genes
  • Dennis Y. Loh
  • Mark A. Behlke
  • Hubert S. Chou

Abstract

To defend against disease, the immune system must be able to recognize a wide variety of foreign antigens with a specificity fine enough to distinguish these foreign antigens from self molecules. For T cells, the T-cell receptor (TcR), a heterodimer composed of an α and a β chain is responsible for the recognition of antigen. Each of the TcR chains is composed of two domains: a constant domain, which is membrane-proximal, and a membrane-distal variable domain, which is responsible for antigen—MHC recognition. The variable domain is encoded by up to three different types of gene segments, which are noncontiguous in the germline; variable (V), joining (J), and at least in the β chain, diversity (D) segments. During T-cell maturation, one of each type is randomly selected and brought together by somatic recombination to form a mature T-cell receptor gene. Thus, the diversity of the T-cell receptor depends on two factors: the number of different gene segments in the germline and the combinatorial diversity generated during the rearrangement process. The murine TcR Vβ gene family consists of ~16 Vβ subfamilies encoding a total of 20 Vβ gene segments (Barth et al., 1985; Behlke et al., 1985). During T-cell ontogeny, these V gene segments undergo somatic DNA rearrangements to Dβ—Jβ or -Jα gene segments, resulting in a complete V-(D)-J assembly in a fashion similar to the rearrangement process undergone by immunoglobulin genes (Kronenberg et al., 1986).

Keywords

Gene Segment Variable Region Gene Gene Transfer Experiment Versus Gene Segment Leader Segment 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dennis Y. Loh
    • 1
  • Mark A. Behlke
    • 1
  • Hubert S. Chou
    • 1
  1. 1.Departments of Medicine, Microbiology, and Immunology, Howard Hughes Medical InstituteWashington University School of MedicineSt. LouisUSA

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