Faculty Research 1990 - 1999


Differences in the avidity of TCR interactions with a superantigenic ligand affect negative selection but do not allow positive selection.

Document Type


Publication Date



Animal, Antigens-CD: bi, Antigens-Differentiation-T-Lymphocyte: bi, Antigens-Viral: im, Base-Sequence, Cell-Differentiation: im, Cells-Cultured, Clonal-Deletion: im, Mammary-Tumor-Viruses-Mouse: im, Mice, Mice-Inbred-CBA, Mice-Inbred-C3H, Mice-Transgenic, Molecular-Sequence-Data, Polymerase-Chain-Reaction, Receptors-Antigen-T-Cell-alpha-beta: im, Superantigens: im, SUPPORT-NON-U-S-GOVT, SUPPORT-U-S-GOVT-P-H-S, T-Lymphocytes: im, cy, Thymus-Gland: im, cy, Viral-Envelope-Proteins: bi, im

JAX Source

J Immunol 1995 Dec 1;155(11):5115-23


AI14579/AI/NIAID, CA45954/CA/NCI, CA52646/CA/NCI


The products of the sag genes of the exogenous mouse mammary tumor virus (MMTV) genome and of endogenous Mtv integrants have been demonstrated to affect the T cell repertoire in mice by causing the deletion of T cells expressing receptors encoded by particular V beta gene segments. Since these deletions affect large populations of T cells with receptors of heterogeneous specificity, they serve as an important model for the study of T cell development in normal mice. Using several C3H/HeN-based strains that express different MMTV(C3H) transgenes, we demonstrate here that the stage of development at which T cell deletion occurs is determined by the level of ligand expression. Although at low levels of ligand expression in the thymus some signs of activation were observed in immature thymocytes, we were unable to detect a level of Sag expression that led to net positive selection. Moreover, we detected a level of Sag-transgene expression that did not cause negative selection in the thymus; no signs of positive selection were observed either. Inclusion of the env gene in the construct, earlier shown to markedly potentiate stimulation by Sag in mixed lymphocyte reactions, also markedly increased the ability of Sag to drive negative selection. These data are interpreted as showing that marked quantitative differences in expression of superantigens does not reveal a level at which only positive selection occurs. This, in turn, suggests that positive selection will occur on ligands distinct from those that drive clonal deletion.

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