T lymphocytes express on their surface not only a specific receptor for antigen and major histocompatibility complex proteins, but also a number of additional glycoproteins that are thought to play accessory roles in the processes of recognition and signal transduction. L3T4 is one such T-cell surface protein that is expressed on most mouse thymocytes and on mature mouse T cells that recognize class II (Ia) major histocompatibility complex proteins. Such cells are predominantly of the helper/inducer phenotype. In this study, complementary DNA clones encoding L3T4 were isolated and sequenced. The predicted protein sequence shows that L3T4 is a member of the immunoglobulin gene superfamily. It is encoded by a single gene that does not require rearrangement prior to expression. Although the protein has not previously been demonstrated on nonhematopoietic cells, two messenger RNA species specific for L3T4 are found in brain. The minor species comigrates with the L3T4 transcript in T cells, whereas the major species is 1 kilobase smaller.

Related Content