Virus infection expands a biased subset of T cells that bind tetrameric class I peptide complexes

Richard M. Coles, Claerwen M. Jones, Andrew G. Brooks, Paul U. Cameron, William R. Heath, Francis R. Carbone

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15 Citations (Scopus)


We have used a TCR β-chain transgenic mouse to examine the relationship between the ability of a T cell to bind soluble class I-peptide complexes and its response to antigenic stimulation in vivo. T cells from gBT-I.3β TCR β-chain transgenic mice preferentially carried TCR α-chains bearing the same Vα2 V region as found in the parent receptor specific for an immunodominant HSV-1 gB-peptide. Furthermore, CD8+ T cells from these mice bound Kb- gB tetrameric complexes with relatively high frequency, and most of these cells contained a Vα2 TCR α-chain. Detailed sequence analysis of the tetramer-binding peripheral T cells showed that this was a heterogenous population expressing TCR with only partial sequence similarity to the parent receptor, which took the form of preferential inclusion of the parental Jα 16 element. Infection with HSV-1, however, selected a subset of tetramer-positive T cells. This was based on the emergence of a co-dominant Jα usage and selection of a restricted CDR3α length. Therefore, the ability to bind soluble MHC-peptide complexes does not always correlate with the ability of a T cell to respond to its cognate antigen after in vivo stimulation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1557-1567
Number of pages11
JournalEuropean Journal of Immunology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Herpes simplex virus 1
  • TCR
  • Tetramer
  • Transgenic mouse

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