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The immunoglobulin mu constant region gene is expressed in mouse thymocytes.
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It has been a matter of controversy whether the functional capacity of T cells to discriminate between antigens is mediated via immunoglobulin, an immunoglobulin-like molecule, or by the product(s) of unrelated genes. The progenitors of immunoglobulin-secreting cells, B cells, express membrane-bound immunoglobulin as the antigen-specific receptor on their surface. For T cells, although products of immunoglobulin heavy chain variable region genes are implicated as receptor components, there has been no compelling immunochemical evidence for participation of either immunoglobulin light chains or heavy chain constant regions (see refs 2-6 for the disparate views). Recently, using cloned immunoglobulin DNA sequences as hybridization probes, we have demonstrated that the immunoglobulin Cmu gene, but not the Cmu gene, is expressed as polyadenylated RNA in some T cell tumour (T lymphoma) cell lines. Individual T lymphoma lines yielded up to three discrete mu RNA species of different sizes (1.9, 2.2 and 3.0 kilobases), each species being different in size from the major mu RNA species present in B lymphoma cells (2.4 and 2.7 kilobases). We show here that cells from the normal mouse thymus contain mu RNA species, indistinguishable in size from those in T lymphoma cells, but contain little if any kappa RNA.
Animals, B-Lymphocytes/immunology, Genes, Immunoglobulin Constant Regions/genetics, Immunoglobulin Heavy Chains/genetics, Immunoglobulin kappa-Chains/genetics, Immunoglobulin mu-Chains/genetics, Immunoglobulins/genetics, Lymphoma/immunology, Mice, Molecular Weight, RNA, Messenger/genetics, Spleen/immunology, T-Lymphocytes/immunology, T-Lymphocytes/physiology, Thymus Gland/immunology
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