Antigen-specific helper function of cell-free T cell products bearing TCR V beta 8 determinants

Science  23 Jun 1989:
Vol. 244, Issue 4911, pp. 1477-1480
DOI: 10.1126/science.2472009


Although the T cell receptor (TCR) alpha beta heterodimer and its encoding genes have been characterized, a cell-free form of this receptor, which is needed for the study of functional or ligand-binding properties of the receptor, has not previously been isolated. When the cell-free supernatant products of activated cloned T helper (TH) cells were found to mediate helper activity with antigen specificity identical to that of intact T cells, experiments were carried out to determine whether this functional activity was mediated by a cell-free form of TCR-related material. A disulfide-linked dimer indistinguishable from the T cell surface alpha beta heterodimer was precipitated from cell-free supernatants of cloned TH cells with F23.1, a monoclonal antibody specific for a TCR V beta 8 determinant. Moreover, when cell-free TH products were bound to and eluted from immobilized F23.1, these affinity-purified materials had antigen-specific and major histocompatibility complex-restricted helper activity that synergized with recombinant lymphokines in the generation of B cell antibody responses. These findings suggest that the factor isolated from T cell supernatants is a cell-free form of the TCR alpha beta dimer.