Human CD3+4-8-WT31-T lymphocyte populations expressing the putative T cell receptor γ-gene product. A limiting dilution and clonal analysis

L. Moretta, D. Pende, C. Bottino, N. Migone, E. Ciccone, S. Ferrini, M. C. Mingari, A. Moretta

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The small peripheral blood CD3+ T cell population lacking both CD4 and CD8 surface antigens has been analyzed in the present study. Enriched CD3+4-8- populations were obtained by depletion with anti-CD4 or anti-CD8 monoclonal antibodies (mAb) and complement. The resulting populations contained >99% CD2+ cells, whereas CD3+ represented approximately 50%. Virtually all of the cells were CD4-8- and did not react with the WT31 mAb, specific for a framework determinant of the α/β T cell receptor (TCR). In order to analyze the molecular nature of CD3-associated molecules in CD3+4-8-WT31- populations, cells were stimulated with 0.5% phytohemagglutinin (PHA) for 24 h and expanded for an additional 7-14 days in interleukin 2 (IL 2). The resulting cells were >95% CD3+ and expressed neither CD4/CD8 nor WT31 antigen. Cell surface iodination followed by cross-linking and immunoprecipitation with anti-CD3 mAb showed that CD3-associated molecules consisted of a major 45-kDa band and a minor band of 43 kDa. Thus, whereas CD3-associated molecules isolated from polyclonal CD3+WT31+ populations (expanded in IL 2 under the same culture conditions) appeared as diffuse bands, CD3-associated molecules isolated from CD3+WT31- populations displayed a homogeneous molecular mass. Northern blot analysis revealed the presence of mRNA for the TCR γ chain whereas the mRNA for the α chain was mostly represented by a truncated (1.2 kb) form. Also small amounts of a nonproductive mRNA for the β chain were detected. Freshly isolated CD3+WT31--enriched populations proliferated in response to PHA and concanavalin A, moreover, IL 2 was detected in the culture supernatants after cell stimulation. By applying culture conditions which allow virtually all T cells to undergo clonal expansion, approximately 1/3 CD3+WT31- were clonogenic. In addition, the large majority of proliferating microcultures lysed the K562 cell line and about half the natural killer (NK)-resistant fresh melanoma target cells. A large number of clones derived from CD3+WT31- enriched populations by limiting dilution has been further analyzed. More than 95% of the clones were CD3+4-8-WT31-; 12/15 clones analyzed in more detail displayed NK activity and 6/15 lysed melanoma cells; in addition, all lysed P815 target cells in the presence of PHA, thus indicating that all the clonogenic CD3+WT31- cells have a cytolytic potential.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1229-1234
Number of pages6
JournalEuropean Journal of Immunology
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 1987

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology


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