Thymic shared antigen-2: A novel cell surface marker associated with T cell differentiation and activation

Stuart P. Berzins, Gayle M. Davey, Elise S. Randle-Barrett, Mark A. Malin, Brendan J. Classon, Stuart Fraser, Richard L. Boyd

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Thymic shared Ag-2 (TSA-2) is a 28-kDa, glycophosphatidylinitosol- linked cell surface molecule expressed on various T cell and thymic stromal cell subsets. It is expressed on most CD3-CD4-CD8-, CD4+CD8+, and CD3(high)CD4-CD8+ thymocytes but is down-regulated on ≃40% of CD3(high)CD4+CD8- thymocytes. Expression on peripheral TCR. αβ+ T cells is similar to that of CD3+ thymocytes, although a transient down-regulation occurs with cell activation. Consistent with the recent hypothesis that emigration from the thymus is an active process, recent thymic emigrants are primarily TSA-2(-/low). TSA-2 expression reveals heterogeneity among subpopulations of CD3(high)CD4+CD8- thymocytes and TCR-γδ+ T cell previously regarded as homogenous. The functional importance of TSA-2 was illustrated by the severe block in T cell differentiation caused by adding purified anti-TSA-2 mAb to reconstituted fetal thymic organ culture. While each CD25/CD44-defined triple-negative subset was present, differentiation beyond the TN stage was essentially absent, and cell numbers of all subsets were significantly below those of control cultures. Cross-linking TSA-2 on thymocytes caused a significant Ca2+ influx but no increase in apoptosis, unless anti-TSA-2 was used in conjunction with suboptimal anti-CD3 mAb. Similar treatment of mature TSA-2+ T cells had no effect on cell survival or proliferation. This study reveals TSA-2 to be a functionally important molecule in T cell development and a novel indicator of heterogeneity among a variety of developing and mature T cell populations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5119-5126
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 1999

Cite this

Berzins, S. P., Davey, G. M., Randle-Barrett, E. S., Malin, M. A., Classon, B. J., Fraser, S., & Boyd, R. L. (1999). Thymic shared antigen-2: A novel cell surface marker associated with T cell differentiation and activation. Journal of Immunology, 162(9), 5119-5126.