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Expression of genes encoding the pre-TCR and CD3 complex during thymus development.
The mature TCR is composed of a clonotypic heterodimer (alpha beta or gamma delta) associated with the invariant CD3 components (gamma, delta, epsilon and zeta). There is now considerable evidence that more immature forms of the TCR-CD3 complex (consisting of either CD3 alone or CD3 associated with a heterodimer of TCR beta and pre-T alpha) can be expressed at the cell surface on early thymocytes. These pre-TCR complexes are believed to be necessary for the ordered progression of early T cell development. We have analyzed in detail the expression of both the pre-TCR and CD3 complex at various stages of adult thymus development. Our data indicate that all CD3 components are already expressed at the mRNA level by the earliest identifiable (CD4lo) thymic precursor. In contrast, genes encoding the pre-TCR complex (pre-T alpha and fully rearranged TCR beta) are first expressed at the CD44loCD25+CD4-CD8- stage. Detectable surface expression of both CD3 and TCR beta are delayed relative to expression of the corresponding genes, suggesting the existence of other (as yet unidentified) components of the pre-TCR complex.
Animals, Cell Differentiation, Female, Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental, In Situ Hybridization, Mice, Mice, Inbred C57BL, Protein Precursors/biosynthesis, Protein Precursors/genetics, RNA, Messenger/biosynthesis, RNA, Messenger/genetics, Receptor-CD3 Complex, Antigen, T-Cell/biosynthesis, Receptor-CD3 Complex, Antigen, T-Cell/genetics, Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, alpha-beta/biosynthesis, Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, alpha-beta/genetics, T-Lymphocytes/cytology, Thymus Gland/growth & development
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