Research Articles

Analysis and expression of a cloned pre-T cell receptor gene

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Science  18 Nov 1994:
Vol. 266, Issue 5188, pp. 1208-1212
DOI: 10.1126/science.7973703


The T cell antigen receptor (TCR) beta chain regulates early T cell development in the absence of the TCR alpha chain. The developmentally controlled gene described here encodes the pre-TCR alpha (pT alpha) chain, which covalently associates with TCR beta and with the CD3 proteins forms a pre-TCR complex that transduces signals in immature thymocytes. Unlike the lambda 5 pre-B cell receptor protein, the pT alpha chain is a type I transmembrane protein whose cytoplasmic tail contains two potential phosphorylation sites and a Src homology 3 (SH3)-domain binding sequence. Pre-TCR alpha transfection experiments indicated that surface expression of the pre-TCR is controlled by additional developmentally regulated proteins. Identification of the pT alpha gene represents an essential step in the structure-function analysis of the pre-TCR complex.

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