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T-cell receptor beta gene rearrangements in clones derived from human CD4-8- cells expressing natural killer cell activity.

  • S E Christmas
  • M Moore
Publication Date
Dec 01, 1988


Clones derived from highly purified human peripheral blood Leu 19+ cells in the presence of phytohaemagglutinin (PHA) and interleukin-2 (IL-2) expressed cytotoxic activity against natural killer (NK)-resistant as well as NK-sensitive targets. All 66 clones analysed had a germ line configuration of T-cell receptor (TCR) beta genes and 38/40 also had unrearranged TCR gamma genes. The two exceptions were both CD3+ clones, but these did not have a cytotoxic repertoire noticeably different from CD3- clones without TCR gamma gene rearrangements. Clones were also obtained from highly purified CD4-8- cells, most of which were also cytotoxic for NK-resistant and NK-sensitive targets. About 90% of these clones were CD3+ but only around 50% remained negative for CD4 and CD8 while a significant number (12.7%) were positive for both CD4 and CD8. All clones analysed had rearranged TCR gamma genes and most had also rearranged TCR beta genes, including 20/25 of the clones which were CD3+4-8-. Many of the clones showed two rearrangements of TCR beta genes, and 3/4 CD3- clones had rearranged TCR beta as well as TCR gamma genes. There was no correlation between cytotoxic activity and TCR gene status or phenotype of these CD4-8- derived clones, except that clones which were Leu 19+ tended to have higher cytotoxic activity against NK-sensitive and NK-resistant targets than Leu 19-clones. The results strongly indicate that TCR beta and gamma gene products are not involved in the cytotoxicity mediated by these clones. They also suggest that some CD4-8- cells may be capable of limited differentiation in vitro.

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