β2-Microglobulin: Association with Lymphocyte Receptors

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Science  28 Dec 1973:
Vol. 182, Issue 4119, pp. 1350-1352
DOI: 10.1126/science.182.4119.1350


β2-Microglobulin (β2m) is a low-molecular-weight protein constituent of lymphocyte membranes. Amino acid sequence analysis has revealed a high degree of homology between the β2m and certain regions of immunoglobulin molecules, suggesting a possible recognition function for the β2m, in analogy with the immunoglobulins. The data presented demonstrate that highly specific antiserum against β2m blocks lymphocyte reactivity against allogeneic cells in mixed leukcocyte cultures and against phytohemagglutinin, both of which processes presumably function via a cell surface receptor on thymus-derived (T) lymphocytes. There is very little inhibition of T lymphocyte rosette formation with sheep red blood cells. The findings suggest a possible relation between the β2m and recognition units on the T lymphocyte surface.