The central event in thymic selection of T cells bearing αβ TCRs is their interaction with self-peptides bound to self-MHC molecules. With the use of transgenic mouse lines expressing a single peptide/MHC class II complex, we show that CD4+ T cells with the preferential usage of particular TCR Vαs and Vβs were selected to mature on this complex in lines with the lower expression, whereas such CD4+ T cells were eliminated in the thymus in a line with the relatively high expression. When a low expressing line was crossed with a high expressing line, the frequency of CD4+ T cells selected by this complex markedly decreased. Thus, these results suggest that a single peptide/MHC class II complex, being affected by its cell surface density in the thymus, can serve as both positively and negatively selecting ligand in vivo.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Immunology and Allergy
- Infectious Diseases