Positive Selection Through a Motif in the αβ T Cell Receptor

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Science  07 Aug 1998:
Vol. 281, Issue 5378, pp. 835-838
DOI: 10.1126/science.281.5378.835

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The two lineages of T cells, αβ and γδ, differ in their developmental requirements: only αβ T cells require major histocompatibility complex recognition, a process known as positive selection. The αβ T cell receptor (TCR), but not its γδ counterpart, contains a motif within the α-chain connecting peptide domain (α-CPM) that has been conserved over the last 500 million years. In transgenic mice expressing an αβ TCR lacking the α-CPM, thymocytes were blocked in positive selection but could undergo negative selection. Thus, the α-CPM seems to participate in the generation of signals required for positive selection.

  • * Present address: Malaghan Institute of Medical Research, Post Office Box 7060, Wellington South, New Zealand.

  • To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: palmer{at}

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