The rearrangement and expression of T cell antigen receptor (TcR) δ chain genes were investigated in congenitally athymic nude mice. The lymphoid cells derived from nude mice showed evidence of rearranged δ chain genes and a relatively high level of δ chain gene messages. Nucleotide sequence analysis revealed that nude mice contained an in‐frame δ chain transcript, composed of Vδ5‐Dδ1‐Dδ2‐Jδ1‐Cδ genes in the spleen. We have previously described functionally rearranged TcR γchain genes in the spleen of nude mice. Taken together, T cell precursors appear to proliferate and differentiate along the extrathymic pathway into TcR γ/δ‐bearing T cells in nude mice.
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