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Expression of T cell receptor genes in the thymus: localization of transcripts in situ and comparison of mature and immature subsets.
European journal of immunology
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Publication types: Comparative Study ; Journal Article ; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't Publication Status: ppublish
We have analyzed the expression of T cell receptor (TcR) genes in the thymus using in situ RNA hybridizations with probes to the constant regions of the TcR alpha, beta, gamma and delta chains. Localization of transcripts revealed low TcR alpha mRNA levels in the thymus cortex and very low levels in the subcapsular region. In contrast, TcR beta message was very abundant in the cortex. TcR gamma or delta mRNA+ thymocytes showed a scattered, predominantly cortical localization. In contrast to gamma, TcR delta transcripts were abundant in the subcapsular region. Control experiments with sorted TcR alpha/beta or gamma/delta cells revealed a detection efficiency of 75%-85% for the respective TcR mRNA and data on TcR gene expression in mature, CD3+ thymocytes were consistent with previous reports. The analysis of immature, CD3- thymocyte subsets, however, revealed a virtual absence of TcR alpha transcripts and an unexpectedly high proportion of cells (14%-29%) expressing the gene for the TcR delta chain. The data are discussed in view of current models of lineage relationships in the thymus.
Animals, Antigens, CD4/analysis, Antigens, CD8, Antigens, Differentiation, T-Lymphocyte/analysis, Gene Expression, Mice, Mice, Inbred C57BL, Nucleic Acid Hybridization, RNA, Messenger/analysis, Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell/genetics, T-Lymphocyte Subsets/immunology, Thymus Gland/immunology
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